For generations, the Fountain Head Inn has served the community. Like all the best pubs, it’s the kind of place that people already feel they own – they talk about it as ‘my pub’, even though the ownership has never been in their hands.
But the people who do own it need to sell and we want to give those local people the chance to finally make the pub as much owned by the community as we’ve always felt it to be.
But the threat is simply because the people who own it need to move on, and they’re up for offers from whomever can make their asking price. They’ve given us, the local community, time to get our act together as they would like to ensure that the pub carries on, but ultimately, they have their own deadlines and if we’re not in position to buy it, someone else will and we can’t have any confidence that those new owners would want to run it as a local community pub, or run it as a pub at all.
If we want the Fountain Head to carry on being the heart of the community, we the community need to step up. And if we do, not only will we preserve the pub for future generations of users, we’ll also be able to unleash the power of the pub to serve our local community even better by being more than just a pub.
Heritage Since the 1790’s
The building that is now the pub was originally the Fountain Head Farm, built in 1792. Samuel Webster was born here in 1813, the founder of Websters Brewery and the first Websters ales were brewed on the site in 1838. Websters Brewery is as synonymous with Halifax heritage as the Piece Hall or Gentleman Jack, and so we intend to obtain Blue plaque status to further protect the building.
Protecting the pub
Once we buy it, it will be protected for generations. The society has a ‘Statutory Asset Lock’ in place, which means that no-one can ever profit from the sale of the building in future. If the pub were ever to be sold, it would be at full market value, and the proceeds would – after repaying shareholders – be used to benefit the local community. The pub would continue to operate as long as we, the local community, wanted it to. We’d have control in our hands.
More than a Pub
The days when a pub could exist solely on selling alcohol to a steady stream of regulars day-in, day-out have long gone. Competition from supermarkets, cafés, bars, restaurants and other pubs mean that we have to think about what we offer and how that keeps pace with people’s changing tastes and needs including:
How much will this cost?
There’s three ways we can move this project forward:
Scenario 1 – if we can raise at least £135,000, we believe we can borrow the remainder of the money we need to purchase the pub. We’ll not be able to undertake the renovations with significant grant funding, which will take time, and might not be possible. And, as we won’t have the extra-revenues that would come from an expanded pub, until either the debt was paid down or the funding found to expand the pub, we wouldn’t be in position to pay investors interest or allow them to have their capital repaid to them.
Scenario 2 – if we can raise £335,000, we can buy the pub and then take out a commercial mortgage to borrow the money we need to undertake the renovations. As this will lead to higher revenues, we believe that we can afford to pay investors up to 2.3% year and still allow investments to be withdrawn (ie, repaid) from year 4 onwards, whilst still paying off the loan.
Scenario 3 – if we can raise £500,000 we can use the extra cash for the renovation and extension costs meaning we would not need the mortgage mentioned in scenario 2. The less debt we have will lower the repayments, which in turn will increase the rate at which we can return capital to our investors.
This is a community share issue, which works a lot more like a bank account, as you get your money back through withdrawing it from the society, and we can only give it back to you if we’re doing well as a business.
Each year, we will put at least 25% of profits generated into a fund to allow investors to be repaid their investment, which you will be able to apply for after 3 years.
Where possible we will allow the full amount requested but each year, we will decide how much money can be withdrawn, and then pay that out in proportion to the total amount requested to be withdrawn.
Our projections show that we can afford to start allowing 20% of capital to be returned to members from the 5th year after trading.
You can see a selection of these rewards on this page - if the amount you'd like to invest isn't shown there, click the nearest reward that is less than the amount you want to invest, and then at the final stage before you enter you click to invest, you can top this up to what you'd want to invest. So, if you want to invest £400, click '£250 Investment ' and top it up with an additional £150 and so on.
As this is a share issue, everyone is encouraged to read: