Save Our Fox

by Richard Brown MBE in Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire, United Kingdom

Total raised £42,550

£420,000 target 11 days left
10% 96 investors
Keep what you raise – this project will receive all pledges made by 31st May 2024 at 9:00pm

We need your help to buy the Fox Inn. Currently closed, unloved and neglected, we aim to reopen it as a thriving community hub.

by Richard Brown MBE in Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire, United Kingdom

Our Vision

We are The Bartons Community Benefit Society Ltd. Our vision is to create an independent, community-owned pub that is a welcoming village hub offering exceptional food, vibrant community events and genuine connections while complementing other local spaces within our village.

Our aim is to secure the future of the Fox Inn for the benefit of Middle Barton and the wider community. The pub will be a free house that serves local beers and sensibly priced, high-quality food prepared using locally sourced ingredients. It will be a place for gathering, socialising and cultural activities. It will facilitate the exchange of information, the promotion of social cohesion and a sense of community belonging.

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The key factors that will contribute to our vision are:

  • Purchasing the freehold of the Fox Inn.
  • Setting an affordable rent and operating the pub as a free house.
  • Re-establishing a successful restaurant offering reasonably priced food appealing to both residents and passing visitors.
  • Agreeing a lease with a professional, experienced tenant who knows how to run a successful pub business and who is supportive of our ambitions.
  • Community involvement in the society to manage, maintain and improve the property, and to ensure local support for the future success of the pub.
  • Investing any surplus profits into improving the pub and its facilities for the benefit of the community and paying a modest level of interest to all shareholders.
  • Refurbishing the outbuilding to create a community café and establishing a   community hub to include a garden run by volunteers. 
  • Facilitating local groups and activities, thereby improving health and wellbeing.
  • Making the buildings and garden more sustainable.

In order to realise our vision, we need your help. By investing in our community shares, you will help us raise sufficient capital to purchase the Fox.

Who are we?

The management committee of the Bartons Community Benefit Society is made up of a group of local people who feel passionate about the Fox Inn. We are lucky to draw on a wealth of expertise and the committee includes a lawyer, an accountant and other upstanding community members with many years of experience in the business and the voluntary sectors. Our chair, Richard Brown, holds an MBE awarded for services to the local community.  

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So far in our endeavour, we have registered the Fox as an Asset of Community Value, carried out a community consultation, commissioned a feasibility study and a structural survey and held a series of public events to raise awareness.  We have a comprehensive Business Plan, Share Offer and Society Rules that can be accessed below. We have received expert advice and support through our membership of the Plunkett Foundation. The local community have come out in force to rally behind the project. Please watch our promotional video, which showcases our set of replica stocks built by one of the committee.

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History and Background

The Fox has been a village pub since at least 1809 and is a building of great historical significance dating from the early 1700s. It is a beautiful Grade II listed building which used to host the local assizes justice courts and the village stocks. It is now the last pub left in the Bartons. 

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The Fox Inn has been a thriving pub in the past, attracting custom from the Bartons and more widely across Oxfordshire. However, due to a lack of ambition and investment from its owners, together with poor support for a succession of tenants, over recent years the pub’s reputation and consequently its turnover has decreased.

Stonegate Group put the Fox Inn on the market in June this year and, under the ACV rules, a six-month moratorium period was triggered by local residents, (during which time the pub can only be sold to a community group) until 27th December 2023. 

The Fox is now closed and vacant, leaving Middle Barton without a pub. The final set of tenants felt unable to make a success of the business given the uncertainty of the situation and their lack of secure tenure.

The closure of the pub has been a great tragedy for the village. Opportunities for socialising have been greatly reduced and many activities and events that used to take place there have moved elsewhere or stopped happening. This has increased a sense of social isolation and community deterioration in the village. We are very much hoping to reverse this trend by reopening the pub.

What people say about the Fox

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"The beating heart of the village"

"An exciting venue for live music"

"A fantastic place to socialise and unwind with a pint"

"I love playing in the garden with my friends"

"I am excited about the different community projects that are planned, such as the Foxhole cafe"

"Going to the Fox has enabled me to meet a wide circle of friends since I moved to the village"

"An important part of our local heritage"

"It is heartwarming to see the community come together"

The success of the Project

We firmly believe that the community ownership model is our best shot at reopening the Fox and enabling the tenants to run a viable and thriving business. The model would allow the Fox to be a free house so that tenants would not be tied into expensive drink contracts and we would set the rent at an affordable level. There are many successful community pubs in the local area, several of whom have been advising us. The overall success rate for community pubs in the UK is over 99%, in stark contrast to other business models.

Buy our community shares and share the love!

When you invest in our shares, you will become a member of our society with voting rights, giving you a say in how things are done. You will also become a co-owner of the society's assets (the pub building and grounds) therefore making a rock-solid investment in bricks and mortar. Community shares have the potential to pay a modest amount of interest of up to 5% and our business plan shows that we aim to do this by year 5. 

Shares cost £1. The minimum investment is £100. The maximum is £100,000. Our shares also make an ideal Christmas gift.

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If we don't meet our target, Crowdfunder will hold any funds raised for a short time to allow us to look for other sources of funding that could make up any shortfall. If we cannot proceed with the project for any reason, then all investments will be refunded in full. 

For more details, please see our Share Offer Document, Business Plan and Rules below. 

Levels of Investment

£100 or more

£100 (or more) Investment

This will give you 100 shares or more, membership of the Bartons Community Benefit Society LTD and part ownership of the Fox Inn. You have a say in the running of the pub and its future – one member, one vote • You can add additional investment at the checkout to increase your number of shares • £100 investment is the minimum but you can club together with friends to invest. Please remember to nominate a member of your group to hold your vote.

£100 or more

Christmas Gift

Is there someone in your life who is difficult to buy a Christmas Gift for? Why not surprise them with something unique? Shares in a 300-year-old Oxfordshire pub and a say in how it is run?​ For a minimum of £100, you can purchase 100 shares and membership of the Bartons Community Benefit Society Ltd. on someone else's behalf. You will receive a gift certificate by email confirming the investment in time to give them at Christmas.

£1,000 or more

£1,000 (or more) Investment

This is a silver-level investment. Go for this and will help us get a great distribution of investors! This will give you 1,000 shares or more, membership of the Bartons Community Benefit Society LTD and part ownership of the Fox Inn. You have a say in the running of the pub and its future – one member, one vote • You can add additional investment at the checkout to increase your number of shares.

£5,000 or more

£5,000 (or more) Investment

Gold level. We need a strong number of Gold investors who live in Middle Barton and surrounding villages. This will give you ​5,000 shares or more, membership of the Bartons Community Benefit Society LTD and part ownership of the Fox Inn. You have a say in the running of the pub and its future – one member, one vote • You can add additional investment at the checkout to increase your number of shares.

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