Save The White Horse

by Julian Thompson in Diss, Suffolk, United Kingdom

Total raised £15,820

raised so far



Save The White Horse - the beating heart of our village! You can help make our project a success by doubling your money with match funding!

by Julian Thompson in Diss, Suffolk, United Kingdom

We're still collecting donations

On the 29th September 2022 we'd raised £15,500 with 105 supporters in 28 days. But as every pound matters, we're continuing to collect donations from supporters.

 New stretch target

If we smash our target, the extra money will be spent on: a stretch tent and shade sails for the pub, a projector for community cinema, a drone, high res camera and app for mapping our land (and natural capital) - collecting valuable data to support our work and grant applications, IT equipment for volunteers (which will improve productivity and also assist further grant applications), a very efficient wood burner for bio-mass + installation  to replace our leaky one (this will help reduce oil bills this winter and help keep patrons warm) and fuel stock for winter and an upgraded Point of Sale System to speed up service at the bar!

I’m Joolz, a founder of iFarm - a Community Benefit Society, based in Thelnetham, Suffolk (but it's Dave in the video - he's much more photogenic).

We really need your help to save our local, The White Horse - the beating heart of our village! We've taken on a 12 month tenancy, with the option to purchase our Pub. Here's how your can help.

Your donation to this crowdfunder will kick start our business by;

  • helping with the cost of essential items (like a cellar cooler) for the pub.
  • repairing our pool table and getting an oche for darts, so we can open our games room.
  • making our business greener (solar system & batteries).
  • creating resilience (water filtration on our land, for clean drinking water, to allow residential glamping for educational courses).
  • providing digital equipment for community training and a social media studio.
  • paying for legal fees for the tenancy and option to purchase.
  • improving our outdoor spaces (making child & family friendly)
  • building a pergola and getting some much needed garden furniture (more tables and seating are required!).

…not only that, but any money you donate will be DOUBLED, with MATCH FUNDING!


Our Community Benefit Society have purchased 10 acres of land and have recently taken on our local pub The White Horse (1 mile away), a place for the community to gather again, tell stories, play music and share time together, over a pint (or maybe a cup of tea)...

After buying the land to protect it and the wildlife and to make community gardens, we drove past the pub and saw it was closed - what a shame! I grew up in Hopton and The White Horse was always the best hangout and my local. So we decided to do something about it.

iFarm brings assets into community ownership to steward them for future generations. Combating social isolation and loneliness, we grow community resilience in the face of crises by way of mutual aid. Through our community we transform: loneliness into belonging and meaning, economic inequality into cooperative economy, climate crisis into sustainable ecological design.

…we haven’t quite bought the pub yet, but after a 13 month protracted negotiation, where we got an Asset of Community Value status, prevented change of use through objections to planning (it was going to be turned into a house and developed), we have got a 12 month tenancy and option to purchase. So The White Horse is open again and trading! 


But we need your help …having “got through the door” and got the keys, some things work and some things don’t. We need to pay for a new cellar cooler to keep our beer cool and for the legal fees and other associated costs of opening. We’re all volunteers, working really hard and your help here can make all the difference to us, our community and the families that enjoy the pub and facilities we provide.

Having opened the Pub in March, it’s going really well and the community loves to have the pub open again. We have food at the weekend - from curry, through burgers to Caribbean food. We have a great selection of ales and local cider. 


So what’s a Community Benefit Society? - We’re not for private profit (all profits go back to benefit our community), we have an asset lock - which means the land and pub (when we buy it), can’t be sold and will be here for generations to come.

Our Community | In Hearts & Minds Everywhere - We are locally rooted, operating in and around the villages of Blo Norton, Thelnetham, Hopton, Hinderclay and in the locality, on the borders of Norfolk and Suffolk. Our members include (a non-exhaustive list): nurses, mental health professionals, architects, gardeners, builders, artists, carpenters, managing directors, brewers, software developers, events managers, carers, mums, dads, council workers, farmers, tree surgeons, welders, musicians, charity managers, ecologists, mechanics, professors & teachers. Join us and get involved!


We’ve a brilliant team of volunteers at the pub, manning the cellar, the bar and village residents helping with everything from electrics to carpentry, decorating and gardening. We’re #StrongerTogether

...we're also #MoreThanAPub

Meet up Mondays - we’ve had great success launching Meet Up Mondays at The White Horse, which offers free tea, coffee and cake on a Monday lunchtime encouraging those in the local area who ‘are fed up with their own company’ to meet up and chat. This may be because they are a new mum, a home worker, out of work (for whatever reason) or an elderly person or couple who have started to feel isolated. Since the launch, #MeetUpMondays has simply changed lives.


The space to gather, have a cup of tea and simply have a chat is invaluable and means the world to people. Your help will ensure we can continue to support our community and change lives.


“The weekends are the worst, when you haven’t got anyone… coming here on a Monday sets me up for the week”.

We even have regular visits from miniature Shetland ponies!


“It’s been the lifeline that I needed. I felt isolated and needed human contact. I’ve met some lovely people and made friends.” 

Your donation will mean that we continue to provide space and activities that beat loneliness and connect  people.

Suffolk’s Greenest Pub - we’ve grand plans for when we buy The White Horse to make it Suffolk’s Greenest Pub. This means retrofitting a leaky 200 year old building. Insulation and renewable energy generation are key. We want to get rid of that nasty (& expensive!) oil for heating! There’s no need to help with the record profits of BP or Shell (from the pockets of our customers and shareholders) or to pollute our planet, when we can generate our own energy and supply the excess to our neighbours.

Our dream is that the Pub will form the cornerstone of a smart energy micro-grid for the village, reducing bills and keeping residents warm. But the first step is to provide an example of how this might work, so with your help:

  • we’ll install some solar energy and batteries, at the farm, to power our volunteer days and to provide a proof of concept.


We’re proud to have already received £10,000 in grant funding from the National Lottery to write our Community Climate Action Plan. This will align our community targets with our District and County Council's Net Zero target date of 2030. It will take a massive mobilisation of civil society to combat the Climate Emergency, so we’re starting here; to transform our community’s energy supply. Our plan will be replicable, scalable and leave a legacy; ensuring our land and pub can be enjoyed for generations! ...and you can help.

Digital Studio - we all need a hand with tech sometimes (switch it off and on again). We’ll be providing digital training, so members of our community can zoom with loved ones and reach out on social media. Let’s face it - our promo video could do with some improvement! This crowdfunder will allow us to buy the kit we need to promote our activities, whilst ensuring everyone has access to necessary digital skills and we’ll be producing some interesting channel content and courses! Watch this space…


Our Brewery - everybody loves a good beer, particularly if brewed locally. You won’t get more local than this, as we’re installing a brewery and have an award winning brewer on our team.

  • Want a beer named after you?
  • Want a celebratory beer for an occasion personalised to your event?

Come talk to our Master Brewer! (or donate and get a reward!)

Our Garden - is already getting some TLC from caring villagers and with your help, will get a much needed makeover.

  • Your donation will help us build a pergola for our wisteria and buy some much needed garden furniture!


Glamping / AirBnB - ever wanted to stay at the heart of the fun? We’ve some work to do getting the Pub up to scratch for AirBnB, but in the meantime, we’ve invested in some bell tents for the land.

The view is fantastic and the walk to the pub beautiful. But there’s no running water on the land.

  • Your donation will help install a water pump and filtration system on the land to ensure safe, clean drinking water is available, for the hot days. 
  • This will also help slake the thirst of our volunteers on a hot sunny day (before they can walk to the Pub for a beer, of course!).


Music & dancing - The White Horse supports local musicians and is a great place to play, to jam and to have a little jig.

From acoustic sets to Morris dancing, there’s something for all. We have a music room and a piano to play!


If you love music and like to support venues, then this is for you.

Games & Clubs - we’ll be repairing the pool table with your donations - it needs new felt and the warped cushions replacing. We’re lucky enough to have pool players that have trialled for England as patrons (they learned to play in The White Horse, in their youth), so don’t bet any money on a game! This crowdfunder will help us set up the games room and snug for clubs to meet. 

We have the following clubs as patrons: Book Club, White Horse Share Club, Equestrian Club, even a Chicago fan club!

Our Land - we’ve 10 acres of beautiful land, adjoining the Little Ouse river. 4 acres of which is fen, which we’ll be keeping in its natural state and protect. Our plans for the land include, creating and restoring ponds (improving healthy plant pollinator relationships and increasing biodiversity), mitigating flooding, rainwater capture, reed bed filtration, limited market gardening, Permaculture and creating community space and gardens. Your help will ensure clean drinking water is available for guests and volunteers helping restore the land.

This space can then be enjoyed by our community and provide a place to stay to enjoy the Pub or to partake in workshops, open days and residential courses, teaching about a restorative and regenerative approach to our land, climate and ecology.


Activities on the land help improve our community’s physical and mental health, with regenerative, participatory and nature based activities.

Our Future plans - we’re buying our pub (this crowd funder is just the start), we’ve submitted bids to Coops UK Booster Programme (£25k match funding) and to the Government’s Community Ownership Fund (£250k match funding) and have a hearty bunch of pledges for Community Shares already from locals, residents and patrons, via our Community Survey; to help us buy The White Horse.

Our team has received grant funded support from the Plunkett Foundation, delivered as consultancy and funding from Norfolk Community Foundation, Breckland District Council, Plunkett Foundation, Power to Change and The National Lottery, to get us to where we are. You can help us on the next step...

Our Journey - so please join our journey in creating a magical community place, to build the resilience we need - pop us a donation and most importantly, swing by for a chat and a beer. Thank you for your support and we look forward to welcoming you to the land and to the pub, for years to come!

Thank you!


This project offered rewards

£100 or more

£100 Reward

You'll get your name engraved on a brass plaque for posterity (it will be here in100’s of years time), showing your support and this will be displayed in our games room.

£25 or more

£25 Reward

Get a free pint! The bell at the bar will be rung and and you'll get a shout out to say thanks!

£50 or more

£50 Reward

Get a free bottle of wine! To take home, or drink with friends in the pub. The bell at the bar will be rung and and you'll get a shout out to say thanks!

£1,000 or more

£1000 Reward

Get a glamping experience (tent for 2) for two nights on our stunning "medicinal quality" land (compost loos and solar shower). Only a mile from The White Horse, via a beautiful walk taking in the local sights: windmill, river & fen.

£1,500 or more

£1500 Reward

Get a craft brewed ale named after you with a complimentary keg (or case of bottles), labelled with your name to share with friends!

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