£7,720

raised of £20,000 target

33

investors
39% 7 days left
This project is using Flexible funding and will receive all pledges made by April 28th 2019 at 7:00pm

We are trying to save our pub from being turned into housing so we can create a community hub at the heart of the South Downs National Park

by Blue Bell Community Hub Limited in Cocking, England, United Kingdom

The Blue Bell Community Hub

Cocking, Midhurst, West Sussex GU29 0HU

(Photo courtesy of Chris Orange)


The Project - Breathing life into our Community

Friendship and community are probably the two most important factors in a village’s health and wellbeing.

Given the increasing tendency for our social life to be online rather than face-to-face, having relaxed, accessible venues where people can meet friends and make new ones becomes ever more necessary.


In Cocking we are in danger of loosing not only our only pub to housing but also when our postmaster retires our only shop and post office. The Community Hub was launched after a possible housing scheme planned for the threatened pub was stopped and an agreement was reached to buy the building from the current owner.  A packed village meeting demonstrated support and a Community Benefit Society was set up to raise funds.

(Photo courtesy of Chichester Observer)

The management team have set up, with a lot of help and advice from the Plunkett Foundation, a Community Benefit Society. It is run by a group of local people who are passionate about saving the heart of the village. They want to buy the pub outright (we have an agreement with the owner to purchase and just need to raise the funds) and turn our pub that's been closed for 18 months and create a hub that will serve the village and the surrounding area and deliver a thriving community space available to all locals plus those that visit us.

The Village

We are a small village of 200+ homes that nestles in the folds of the South Downs. The village is called Cocking in West Sussex, 3 miles south of Midhurst and 7 miles north of Chichester, on the busy A286 the main road north south.

The village has a thriving community that has some 470 inhabitants. There has been a pub on the site of the Blue Bell since 1635. 

We have an 11th Century Church, a historic millennium column, the Philip Jackson Studio and are a very popular destination for visitors to the South Down National Park and our current post office serves not only our village but 5 other villages around us.


The Heart of the Community

The Blue Bell Community Hub will become a hive of community and voluntary activity, providing a pub, café/restaurant, bed and breakfast, a shop and when our postmaster retires our post office. It will be a focal point for community events and services. It will actively promote inclusion and take care to involve people of all ages and backgrounds, particularly looking out for the most vulnerable in our community. The Hub will play an important role in addressing loneliness and isolation through the creation of employment and volunteering opportunities.

"Since the start of the campaign and seeing how the village have come together to support it, we have now decided not to move house" - local resident of 2 years.

The Funding

We have agreed a purchase price for the Blue Bell with completion at the end of April 2019. We plan to open in late summer this year after we have carried out extensive refurbishment. The target for the Community Share Offer is to raise a minimum of £120,000 with a target of £200,000 and a maximum of £250,000 towards a total project cost of £637,000.

We are reaching out via Crowdfunder to the wider audience outside our immediate community - those who enjoy the facilities of the South Downs National Park - through visiting, staying, passing by our village. Our aim is to raise £20,000 - £60,000 toward the Hubs purchase.

To date we have donations and grants confirmed at £270,000. The balance will be made up of loans, further grants and donations, some of which are only available once we have bought the building. We are actively applying for grants from the South Downs National Park, the Big Lottery, Chichester District Council, West Sussex County Council, Princes Countryside Fund, Tudor Trust, The Grange, iGas and the Bernard Sunley Foundation.

As grant funding can take up to 3/4 months to realise one of our villagers is bridging the balance whilst we wait for the funds to come in. The hub will be run by an experienced tenant and we are in the final stages of recruitment. The successful applicant will be part of the team that decides on the final format and operation.

A full description of the project with all supporting information can be found on attached documents or at www.bluebellhub.org

Donate or buy shares

You can either donate what you can afford or buys shares

Shares will be priced at £50 each, with a minimum shareholding per application of five shares (i.e. £250 investment). Groups of friends, family members or clubs could group together to achieve the minimum holding.

However, you should note that only the first named investor on the application form will be a Member of The Society with voting rights.  Under the rules of the Community Share Offer scheme voting is on the basis of one vote per shareholder. The maximum private shareholding will be set at £10,000.

Purchase of the minimum number of shares will confer membership of the Society, giving members control over the business through the annual election of a Management Committee and voting rights on significant issues at regular meetings.


Visitor Gateway

The hub will contain a South Downs National Park Visitor Gateway, one of the first embedded right on the edge of the South Downs Way. The Visitor Gateway will provide information on the local area, maps, trails, routes etc. and this will attract more visitors and be accessible and welcoming to all who either live or visit here. See press release below.

The Visitor Gateway will be a place where ramblers, cyclists and all those visiting this beautiful area can discover more about the 1,627 sq km of stunning surrounding countryside with its historic sites, walks, trails and wildlife, as well as benefiting from the Hub’s facilities. The project also benefits by being part of the National Park’s Joint Identity programme.

With immediate access to the South Downs Way and many other local attractions the Community Hub’s unique location offers itself to become an important Visitor Gateway, attracting people to the area to enjoy the special qualities of the National Park and supporting local businesses in the process.

Press Release

Play your part in creating Community Hub and Visitor Gateway at the heart of the National Park

People are being urged to rally round to help save a village’s only pub and transform it into a thriving Community Hub and Visitor Gateway for the South Downs National Park.

Villagers in Cocking, near Midhurst, are working together to save its last remaining pub, the Blue Bell, and turn it into a Community Hub for the benefit of the village and everyone enjoying the surrounding countryside.

The South Downs National Park is supporting the project, in principle and subject to planning permission, with a Visitor Gateway in the Hub. The hub will be a place where ramblers, cyclists and all those visiting this beautiful area can discover more about the 1,627 sq km of stunning National Park with its historic sites, walks, trails and wildlife, as well as benefiting from the Hub facilities. 

The project also benefits by being part of the National Park’s Joint Identity programme.

But the clock is now ticking to raise the £120,000 needed to save the venue.

A Community Share Offer has been launched and is already attracting generous support from locals. Fundraisers are hoping more people will able to pledge support before the current crowdfunding campaign, aiming to raise £20,000 of the £120,000 needed, hits its deadline on April 28.

Peter Gibbon, one of the villagers spearheading the fundraising campaign, said: “We are planning for this to be a relaxed, accessible venue where people of all ages can enjoy the pub, restaurant and café. We also want to offer other facilities, such as bike repair, overnight accommodation, information to visitors on the local area and eventually the Post Office when the postmaster retires."

“By working in Partnership with the South Downs National Park, we are determined not to lose these key assets for the community and to welcome all those visiting the South Downs and key destinations in the area, such as the Weald and Downland Living Museum, West Dean College and Goodwood.”

Peter added: “We are seeking a suitable tenant to run the venue, to live on site and share in the vision for the pub to become a true social hub, providing facilities and services that bring the community together and serve its visitors.”

The Community Hub was launched after a possible housing scheme at the threatened pub was stopped and agreement reached to buy the building from the current owner. A packed village meeting demonstrated support and a Community Benefit Society was set up to raise funds.

Andrew Lee, Director of Countryside Policy for the South Downs National Park, said: “The SDNPA is keen to foster the social and economic well-being of the local communities in the National Park and to enable local communities living within it and on the fringes to be able to understand and enjoy this nationally designated landscape.

“With immediate access to the South Downs Way and many other local attractions the Community Hub’s unique location offers itself to become an important Visitor Gateway attracting people to the area to enjoy the special qualities of the National Park and supporting local businesses in the process.”

To get involved and support the project visit www.crowdfunder.co.uk/blue-bell-community-hub or go to www.bluebellhub.org For further details on the project contact Frances Russell at frances.russell1@btinternet.com

 

Ends


A place where all can enjoy this wonderful part of Southern England

Being on the main A286 route down to the coast between Midhurst and Chichester we are well placed, just off the South Downs Way, as a popular destination for walkers, cyclists (on and off road) and those that enjoy the Park and wish to stay in our area (the pub and the village are well supported with B&B facilities).

We are also on the main route to Goodwood motor circuit famous for its festival of speed and revival.

The Goodwood race course attracts many visitors here each year, plus the Weald and Downland Museum and West Dean Gardens are just down the road and regularly use our facilities.

All in all we are well placed to support not only the community we live in but also the many visitors and passers by that enjoy the Park and all its attractions. 














Please join us by supporting us in our venture. If we can save not only the Blue Bell pub, the only pub in our village, but also be in a place to accommodate our only shop and its post office, it will 'breath life into our Community' and enable us to provide facilities for all those that visit us. Many thanks for your time.

"The Steering group formed to save the Blue Bell and create the Blue Bell Hub are incredibly impressive in the enthusiasm, expertise and knowledge they bring to the task and by the hard work they are putting in to ensure that the Blue Bell lives on in the heart of the village and its community".

Philip Jackson CVO DL MA FRBS

President 

Blue Bell Community Hub Limited

Contact us

info@bluebellhub.org

www.bluebellhub.org 

Important documents
shareoffer business plan the rules

Levels of Investment

£10 or more

Donate what you can afford

Every little helps. Our village attracts many visitors each year and we are reaching out to them to make sure the Blue Bell Hub is there next time they visit.

£20 or more

£20 Reward

You get a free coffee or tea when you come to the hub within the first year of opening in the Summer of 2019.

£30 or more

Donate what you can afford and get a reward

This will be a donation to the purchase and refurbishment of the Hub and entitle you to a free drink on your fist visit during the first year of opening

£250 or more

£250 Investment

a pledge of a minimum of £250 allows you to buy 5 £50 pound shares and become members of the Blue Bell Community Benefit Society by effectively buying shares.

£250 or more

£250 Investment by a Group

If you are a group of friends, family or a club you can join together to buy 5 shares for £250 or more but only one person will become a member of the Society.

£500 or more

£500 Investment

Thank you for your investment £500 will buy you 10 Community shares in the Blue Bell Community Hub

£800 or more

£800 Investment

Thank you for your investment £800 will buy you 16 Community shares in the Blue Bell Community Hub

£1,000 or more

£1000 Investment

Thank you for your investment £1000 will buy you 20 Community shares in the Blue Bell Community Hub

£2,000 or more

£2000 Investment

Thank you for your investment £2000 will buy you 40 Community shares in the Blue Bell Community Hub

£5,000 or more

£5000 or more

Thank you for your investment £5000 will buy you 100 Community shares in the Blue Bell Community Hub


Let's make 'Blue Bell Community Hub' happen