£8,260

raised of £20,000 target
38
investors
41% 39 days left
Flexible funding – this project will receive all pledges made by June 30th 2019 at 7:00pm

The community and supporters have managed to save the pub by purchasing it and now need funds for refurbishment. To make it a place for all.

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.


Proposed external refurbishment


In Cocking we were 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.

The management team 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.

On 30th April 2019 the purchase of The Blue Bell was completed with the financial support of so many Cocking residents, friends and supporters, some loans and partner grants. The Blue Bell Community Hub can now move forward and tenders are currently out for the works required to get the building much improved ready for business and to serve the local community.

This is a tremendous achievement and has, within the 6 months since we set out, managed to save a key asset for our community capable of providing a facility that will support the area for years to come.

The Blue Bell Community Hub Refurbishment Fund

The Management Committee has launched The Blue Bell Community Hub Refurbishment Fund and we are now applying for further grants for which we only now become eligible as owners of the hub. To date we have £10,000 in that fund and we need to build this up to allow us to undertake the refurbishment work.

Of the £640,000 we needed to raise, £490,000 was for the purchase of the property and associated costs. With the help of more than 150 shareholders and donors the loss of our only remaining pub has been prevented, but now we need to focus our attention on making the Blue Bell suitable as a community hub.

The total refurbishment cost is £150,000. This money will be raised through further Community Share sales, donations, grants, other investors, community fundraising events with a Crowdfunder target of a further £12,000 (£8,000 was raised for the purchase).

There is a lot of hard work ahead with many villagers offering their support and assistance in the clearance, garden preparation and decoration. The main bulk of the heavy work will be carried out by contractors and this will commence once we have secured most of the funds.

Garden clearance has commenced 

We are reaching out to all who support community projects such as this, especially those that live in the area or visit to enjoy the South Downs National Park

Now the community owns the property we would like as many people as possible to invest or donate to make this a truly community venture – please support us.


What are we going to do?

Proposed new Bar


We have programmed to make the building much more usable and inviting for all. This will include:

  • strip out the bar and relocate it
  • remove the pillars in the lounge to get much better circulation and flexibility within the available space (and to assure you, do all the structural changes needed to allow these supports to be removed!)
  • replace the downstairs floors and have wood finishes in the shop and lounge areas
  • create a new bar area and new cooled cellar to keep the beers and drinks at the right temperature
  • equip the kitchen suitable for preparing quality wholesome pub-grub
  • enhance the toilets
  • provide a new heating boiler and upgrade the water system and showers
  • make all the downstairs areas fully wheelchair-accessible
  • provide tenant accommodation including a small fitted out kitchen
  • completely redecorate the outside and inside of the building
  • provide very high speed internet access and WiFi

Outside we will get bike racks, a bike repair shed and dedicated maintenance area with water, compressed air and a toolset. We will provide more parking places (including dedicated disabled spaces) and repair the paving. We will also reinstate the garden area with outdoor seating and provide hedging/fencing on the raised part to make it safe for children.

It is going to be a real community hub; please help to make this happen.

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.

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.

We now have over 150 supporters from the community, those around us, those that visit our beautiful South Downs and those that appreciate the importance of community projects such as ours.


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.

South Downs 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

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