Support the Bladon Community Pub Project

by Julie Bignone in Bladon, England, United Kingdom

Support the Bladon Community Pub Project
We did it
On 11th December 2019 we successfully raised £2,645 with 36 supporters in 28 days

The Bladon Community Benefit Society plans to turn the White House into a community hub - a welcoming pub and provider of essential services

by Julie Bignone in Bladon, England, United Kingdom

New stretch target

All monies raised will be put towards refurbishment works to bring our community hub to life.

The White House pub has been at the heart of the Bladon community since the 17th Century and is the last remaining community facility in this village, which is the resting place of Sir Winston Churchill. It's also the pub where Churchill “learned to drink” when he lived at nearby Blenheim Palace. 

The pub was put on the market by the current owners Greene King back in September and we have been working hard to fundraise through a Community Share Offer in order to secure the future of the pub for our wonderful village and all its visitors. We have now finally received the news we have been waiting for and our offer to purchase the pub has been accepted! 

Whilst we have the necessary funds to purchase the White House, once the pub is in our ownership there will be very little left for refurbishment works and to bring the Community Services that we wish to offer to life. All monies raised will therefore be put towards transforming the pub into a community hub including disabled access toilets and new baby changing facilities, as well as launching some of the support groups that we intend to offer.

Every little helps - this is a 'flexible' crowdfund so we will receive all pledges when the window closes on 30th June.

Our story so far

With a growing population of just under 1,000 residents and thousands of visiting tourists, this important and historic pub is the lifeblood of our community. Anticipating that the current owners, Greene King, would try to sell the White House at some point, in June 2019 Bladon Parish Council, with the support of Bladon villagers, successfully applied to West Oxfordshire District Council for the pub to be listed as an Asset of Community Value (ACV). In September the pub was put on the market, and the community now has until March to put in a bid to buy and manage the future of the pub.

A group of concerned residents then formed a committee and registered the Bladon Community Benefit Society with a view to raising the necessary funds to purchase the pub and run it for the benefit of the entire community. A Community Share Offer was launched and has now closed with nearly 430 shareholders from both local communities and as far away as Australia and the USA. In March an offer was submitted to Greene King and we have just learnt that our offer has been accepted. Solicitors have been instructed and our next steps include planning some refurbishment works to transform our local watering hole into a vibrant community facility.

Our Vision for the Pub

Our aim is to secure the future of the White House for the benefit of Bladon, the wider community and visiting tourists, as a flourishing friendly and welcoming village pub. The pub will be a free house that serves local beers and sensibly priced, freshly cooked, good food prepared using locally sourced ingredients. It will be the heart of the village as a place for social gathering, cultural activities, somewhere to meet people and exchange information, and it will promote a cohesive and friendly community in the area. We would intend to run a programme of monthly and weekly evening events at the pub (e.g. quiz, music, specialist food nights, sports activities such as Aunt Sally), day-time events for local residents (e.g. being open for breakfast for school-run parents and early morning dog walkers), and provide a base and lunchtime venue for visitors to Winston Churchill's grave and the neighbouring Blenheim Palace Park. We also intend to offer support groups from the pub, refurbish the toilets to provide fully accessible facilities and re-landscape the outdoor space to provide a safe, family-friendly garden to be enjoyed by the community and its visitors.

Our vision is that a thriving, community owned White House would be ‘more than a pub’ and deliver charitable outcomes by enabling greater community cohesion, improving access to community services and help reduce social isolation for the growing elderly population in the village.

Community ownership

We are registered as a Community Benefit Society (CBS) with a large membership base primarily drawn from the villages in the immediate vicinity of the pub. The democratic governance structure of the CBS ensures that the whole community remain in control of the society and its pub.

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