We are raising the funds for the development a strong community bid for the Admiral's Head pub in Little Bealings, Suffolk. Help us to bring this much-loved pub into community hands and re-opened for the benefit of the community!
Every little helps - this is a 'flexible' crowdfund so we will receive all pledges when the window closes on 16th October.
We have already secured £3,000 in grant-funding for this bid. Your support will help us to have funds to allow us to complete a thorough feasibility assessment of the project.
Our story so far
The Admiral’s Head in Little Bealings, Suffolk was once a successful rural pub, much-loved by the local community that spans the closely connected rural villages of Little Bealings, Great Bealings, Playford and Culpho, walkers along the Fynn Valley, and visitors from nearby Martlesham, Woodbridge, Kesgrave and beyond.
When the pub closed in 2012, it was listed as an Asset of Community Value. It retains this status today thanks to the pressure the local community has maintained through the owners’ appeal in 2018, and a (refused) planning application for change of use to a dwelling. The owners finally put the pub up for sale in May 2019, and via the local parish council, the community registered its intention to bid to buy it. This triggered the community’s ‘right to bid’ and prevents any other sale until 23 November 2019.
On Friday 28 June, the community held an open meeting attended by more than 80 people from across the four villages and beyond. More than 70 people responded to a questionnaire indicating support for the project and interest in remaining informed. Many people have volunteered to help and many more have indicated they would consider purchasing community shares in the pub.
The Friends of the Admiral's Head was constituted in response to these developments to lead the preparation of the community bid for the pub. The group is made up of those who attended the open meeting and subsequently volunteered to be part of the team to lead preparation of the community bid.
Our vision for the pub
Ideas for the business are to offer a changing menu of good quality pub food and drinks drawing on south and coastal Suffolk’s vibrant artisanal and craft food and beverage production, a programme of monthly and weekly evening events at the pub (e.g. quiz, music, specialist food nights), day-time events for local residents (e.g. being open for breakfast for school-run parents and early morning dog walkers, running a day time book club), and provide a base and lunchtime venue for walkers along the popular Fynn Valley Walk.
Our vision is that a thriving, community owned Admiral’s Head would be ‘more than a pub’ and deliver charitable outcomes by enabling greater community cohesion, improving access to community services, reducing social isolation for the growing elderly population in the villages, and promoting greater enjoyment of the Fynn Valley on a sustainable basis. The pub also neighbours the village primary school. We firmly intend that the pub’s car park will offer much needed safe parking for the school drop off and pick up and may support relevant activities for parents such as return-to-work workshops.
We intend to register as a Community Benefit Society (CBS) with a large membership base primarily drawn from the villages in the immediate vicinity of the pub. Although we will market our community share offer more widely, the democratic governance structure of the CBS will ensure that local people will remain in control of the society and its pub.
We are seeking to raise – as a matter of some urgency – development funds to cover the costs of a feasibility study, developing business and community benefit plans, legal registration as a CBS, preparing a community bid and raising finance to purchase the pub.
We are also seeking to raise funds to purchase and refurbish the pub and to cover working capital requirements of running the pub, through a combination of community shares, loans, grants and other donations, in anticipation that our bid will succeed. The figure required will be defined through our feasibility and business planning. It will depend upon negotiation on the purchase price and we need funding now to pay for a valuation survey and electrical, asbestos and condition surveys to kick this off.
This crowdfunding campaign focuses on raising ‘development’ funds to cover the costs of preparing the community bid, and all the supporting activity necessary to do this.
Any funds we raise through this crowdfunding campaign which we don’t use for the preparation of the bid will be put towards financing of the purchase, refurbishment and working capital requirements of running the pub for the benefit of the community. If we are not successful in buying the pub, any surplus funds will be distributed to organisations with similar community aims in the area.
(Pub photo credit: Phil Holmes)