Tuesday, June 10, 2014
Campaigners aiming to buy Sidbury’s Red Lion pub have raised a ‘heartening’ £100,000 of investment in just five weeks.
The cash is half of what residents needed to see their local become East Devon’s first community-owned inn.
Sidbury Community Enterprises (SCE) distributed share prospectuses across the village and also held two public open days in village hall, displaying refurbishment plans that were worked up for a future business model.
Chairman Fred Burnett said: “It has been most heartening to have received investments from more than 150 investors who have provided in excess of £100,000.
“We are incredibly proud to have raised so much money from such a large number of investors in a relatively short period of time.
“This, we believe, demonstrates that our vision for retaining the Red Lion has significant support.
“We always knew that our target to raise £200,000 through the share offer was challenging to say the least.”
Because the full amount was not raised, the committee met at the weekend to discuss what its response should be.
The group reaffirmed that it would only proceed to purchase the Red Lion on the basis of the proposals as set out in its vision statement and in the share offer prospectus – meaning it needs to generate around £133,000 from a mortgage and around £200,000 through shares, short-term low loans and donations.
Another option the group discussed was applying for a £100,000 non-refundable capital grant from Social Investment Business, a government-funded organisation that supports social enterprises.
If successful, the money would not be paid out until mid-September, which would delay the proposed purchase of the pub, but allow campaigners the opportunity to continue to seek additional investors who could purchase shares or provide their bid with donations.
The group has written to all those who invested to seek their agreement to the approach, and determined that it will not cash any investments that have been made either through cheques or online until it is clear that it has the full amount of funds required to commence a viable business.