When people heard that The Bell was for sale there was consternation in Walcot Street, but a number of us were aware that customers buying their favourite pubs were a coming thing, so Steve called a meeting, and…
We gave ourselves the time to talk through among the community of the pub the different possibilities of how this could be done. There were differences of opinion, but we did hit on something that has obviously worked, and which will carry on working.
There has been a lot of hard work put in by several people [the Founder Members and their advisers], working through the options and doing the immense amount of background work to support a Community Share Offer, the framework we decided on. We had some very very good advice, some of which is linked to below. People in important offices did things for us in double-quick time [departing owner Ian Wood had set us a very short time scale to do it all], some of this was thanks to our experts and to Bath MP Don Foster.
We had great word of mouth and popular support, the local press were good to us, we had good people chipping in on social media for us. We also had some quite famous people from the world of music [but with a local angle] rooting for us - some of them just making a statement, others have bought shares and become members of the CoOp - because they believe that the kind of place we are is important to live music. We do too: so thanks, people!
There are many people without whom it would not have been possible. One of those was the previous owner, Ian Wood, who quite quickly got to like the idea and has been supportive throughout. Do note, tho’, that in the absence of a friendly face in that position, the legislation regarding Assets of Community Value [see the websites listed below] can force a seller to see it your way for a while.
You can do it too! Try these sources of information below, write to us if you think we can tell you more. We’ve all been really energised and enthused by the process - even though parts of it were a drag and very hard work - and would love to share it with you!
The Plunkett Foundation [lots of useful advice]
CoOperative pubs online [supported By Plunkett Fdn]
Community Shares Unit [the method we chose to finance the project]
Camra (Campaign for Real Ale) is very much into Real Pubs too:
see also: www.communitypubscampaign.org.uk
In rural communities, pubs are possibly even more important than in town [how is this possible?]
Bath and West Community Energy - Most successful Community CoOp in Bath and a great encouragement
www.shares.coop - Lots more exciting community shares projects