Three projects embracing the co-operative model are celebrating success at different stages of their bids to take control of community assets.
In the village of Irthington, eight miles east of Carlisle, a community share offer has launched for locals to buy and re-open the Salutation Inn. The pub closed in May 2015 before being put up for sale in February this year. After a public meeting in March, locals voted in support of a bid to community-own the business.
The share offer launched on 22 June with the aim of creating a community hub serving locally produced food and a range of drinks, as well as exploring the possibilities of a mobile post office, live music evenings, quiz nights and more.
The group needs to raise a minimum of £100,000 to make the bid possible, and has received support from Cooperative Community Finance and Plunkett Foundation. Individuals or corporates are invited to invest between £250 and £25,000 each and the society will be run on the principle of ‘one member, one vote’.
In Blackburn, residents are aiming to turn the Sir Charles Napier into the UK’s first community-owned rock venue. A long-established fixture on the alternative rock scene, the pub closed in June 2015. Now, Community Shares Scotland is helping the club on the road to community-ownership.
The Sir Charlies Napier is due to re-open soon as a community interest company with over 60 members on a five-year lease after a successful campaign raised £32,000.
Plans are also in place to launch a second offer in the autumn – this time to buy the lease and own the pub outright.
In Scotland, GlenWyvis distillery in Dingwall has reached its target of £1.5m in community shares – one day before the closing date of 24 June.
Dave Hollings of Co-operative and Mutual Solutions said: “This has been a hugely ambitious community share offer, driven by the desire of a committed group of local people to use the historic skills of whisky distilling as the catalyst to drive the improvement of their community.”