The Old Forge Community Benefit Society

The Old Forge CBS profile

Project by The Old Forge CBS

The Old Forge Community Benefit Society

The Old Forge Community Benefit Society

The Old Forge CBS profile

Project by The Old Forge CBS

£64,191

£60,000 stretch target 10 days left
160% 520 supporters

To bring The Old Forge pub under community ownership for the benefit of all.

New stretch target

Every single penny helps. Please help us to tick off our wish list and make your visit the best - like it should be! We have so much work to do beyond the purchase and a very tight budget. The additional funding will allow us to put the care and attention to the finer details of our amazing community pub - for you. A wood burning stove, additional cosy snug lounge, getting those beer benches put back in front of that iconic Old Forge sign for the best beer garden view, putting the fiddle and guitar back on the wall for the sessions....These are just some of our favourite things!


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The Idea: For the Knoydart Community to own and run The Old Forge.

Back in January 2021 The Old Forge in Knoydart was put on the market and after many discussions and a community consultation the overwhelming response was that we, the community should raise funds to purchase it.

The Old Forge is the remotest pub on mainland Britain and is on the Knoydart Peninsula in the Scottish Highlands, accessible by boat or an 18 mile hike over the munros. There are no roads in!.  Around 100 people live here and we have a successful model of community ownership and involvement and were one of the first community buyouts in 1999.    

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Simply put, the Knoydart community already own and manage 17,500 acres of land and we believe the community is best placed to own and manage an asset like the Old Forge.

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Background:

If you've never been you might not know how important this pub is to our local community and it's visitors.  It's world renowned and made it into the Guinness book of records as the remotest pub in mainland Britain.

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It's a mecca for hillwalkers who dream about a well earned pint at the end of their 3 day walk to Inverie.  Sailors and Yachties are regular visitors to the Forge too and the pub has its own moorings for visiting yachts.

For locals it's always been more than a pub.  It's where many of us celebrated important events together as a community.  The community buy out of Knoydart in 1999 was celebrated here!  Many relationships and friendships were "forged" here and there have been marriages that would never have existed were it not for the Forge.

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In it's more recent history the pub has been closed for 6 months over the winter and every Wednesday during the season.  This vital social space is shut when it's needed the most.

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Under community ownership we are proposing year round opening and vitally year round employment.  But we need to act FAST...our real concern is the pub will be sold as a holiday home.  Your pledge will help us keep the lights on for years to come!

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Our Vision:

To be a vibrant and environmentally conscious community owned pub.  Welcoming to all and investing in the regeneration and stability of Knoydart.  It will offer countless social, environmental and economic benefits to the area, it's residents and visitors.

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Our goals are to:

  • Create a friendly and inclusive social hub that's welcoming to all residents and visitors.
  • Offer year round employment.
  • Offer training and career development opportunities.
  • Create an environmentally friendly business model that takes direct action to tackle climate change.
  • Actively collaborate with local businesses and organisations to offer complimentary services to the community and visitors.
  • Operate a sustainable, robust business that invests profits back into the community.
  • Make a concerted effort to support local producers, in turn improving the circular economy.

How Much?

The pub is on the market for £425,000 for the building only.  The other costs of fixtures and fittings, essential works needing to be carried out, the business and goodwill as well as the costs of legal fees and taxes is a much higher figure.  

We decided to raise the finances in a multi-strand approach. 

1: Grants. - We have been lucky to receive funding from the Scottish Land Fund (SLF) and have been successful in obtaining the Community Ownership Fund (COF) which we applied for.

2: Shares. - We launched a community share offer and hit our maximum target set. 

3: Crowdfunder.  - This is where hopefully you come in.  We have been overwhelmed by the response and people getting in touch to offer their support in making The Old Forge pub community owned and the Crowdfunder platform is the ideal place for the public to help us.

Post Purchase Plan (The repair and redevelopment costs have been broken down to 3 phases) :

Phase 1 - Boring but essential:

  • kitchen roof,
  • 1st phase rewiring,
  • water services
  • general maintenance.

Phase 2 - Getting interesting …..

  • sorting out the toilets
  • Refurb existing staff accommodation
  • 2nd phase rewiring

Phase 3 - The full monty

  • moving the cellar,
  • renewing and extending the bar opening into an additional snug bar space.

Fundraising Plan:

The fundraising is going to plan with a successful Scottish Land Fund (SLF) application and community/ public share issue.  This will give us the money to fund a large proportion of the bricks and mortar purchase costs, some essential works as well as most of the development post . We were successful in obtaining a Community Ownership Fund (COF) which will get us to the end of phase 2 by supporting the essential development costs as well as a proportion of the goodwill.  Where you come in more importantly is on our Crowdfunder which will give us the funds to reorganise and improve the pub cellar and create a fantastic, welcoming bar and dining area for locals and visitors alike.

We have been overwhelmed by the response and people getting in touch from far and wide wanting to offer support and are so excited to now be able to finally launch our Crowdfunder .

Why?

With our successful share offer launch and grant money awarded from SLF and COF we have reached the finish line.  We've raised the money needed for the keys but as mentioned above there is much more to it than the cost of the building.  You'd be right to ask why we need more funds. Everyone knows you can't start running a business with no money.  Our valuation flagged that we needed to repair the roof, insulate the building, fix the guttering, and vital work is needed on the cellar.  We have some of this covered with the income from the grant and share money but this leaves us with no reserves and we want to make the Forge more efficient for staff and a better more comfortable, welcoming place for customers.

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We are proposing the money raised from crowdfunder will make a brand new bar and cellar.  By moving the cellar to the back of the pub it would allow us have a larger bar with more room in the gantry, making it more efficient for busy shifts and at the same time overhauling the cellar, making it fit for purpose and more practical. This will mean there will be more room within the bar area and you will not be bottle-necked (pardon the pun).  The new bar layout makes sense on a practical level and will make the most of the space within the building.  However, most importantly, it will keep the Forge atmosphere everyone remembers.  The cost of the bar renovation, extension and moving the cellar is £100k and our shortfall is £40,000.  We're asking you to help us Raise the Bar - literally! 

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Supporters:

Don't just take our word for it.  Support for our campaign is high and there's a few well known faces who think it's a great idea too!

Sandi Toksvig - Presenter and author

Steve Backshall - Naturalist, author and presenter

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Cameron McNeish - Mountaineer, author and columist

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Robert Macfarlane - Author

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Kate Forbes MSP - Politician

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We have come so far already.  We are now asking for your help to help us to achieve our goals and to ensure The Old Forge is a great success for generations to come.

You can read our detailed business plan on our website as well as more detail about our successful share offer. www.theoldforgecbs.org

We have also featured on the Radio, TV and in The Guardian, The Financial Times, The Herald, The Scotsman, The National, The Sunday Post, The Daily Record, Daily Mail, The Oban Times, The Press and Journal and The Times as well as The BBC news (link below)

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-highlands-islands-58624724

How you can help.

We are almost there and time is of the essence. We can't let this vital asset be sold as a holiday home.  We need your help to make it a reality and The Old Forge pub community owned.

You can either click on the donate button at the top right of this page and give a straightforward donation. Alternatively you may like to get something in return and there is something for everyone with a choice of reward to suit you and every budget.  Rewards start at just £30 and is a lovely way to get involved and be part of the next chapter of The Old Forge.  We hope you can share our story with your friends and family, either on social media (Using the share button) or in person as we are a small community of 100 - we need your help to spread the word!

In the event that we are unsuccessful and fail to secure the Forge, the funds will be returned. If we don't reach our target of £40,000 don't worry - we are still able to use the money raised and reserve the right to use it where necessary. (To be clear our plan is to use the Crowdfunder funds for our new bar and essential cellar - however, It may be that we only raise some of the money needed and can only afford do the works on the cellar.)

A note about rewards:

*Every reward comes with a shout out on our website wall of supporters and your name handwritten in our Forge Family Tree book that can be viewed in the pub in person unless you ask to be kept anonymous.

The Crowdfunder limited edition T-shirt will be available to send out at the end of March 2022, whereas the other rewards will be dependent on if and when we get the keys.  We anticipate the in house personalised rewards will be available from December 2022 and earlier for the Inn Crowd official opening.

With the personalised rewards please be aware we have the right to refuse to inscribe anything that may be deemed offensive.

If you have any questions about anything, please don't hesitate to email us

Thank you!

From The Old Forge Community Benefit Society team,

Isla, Jackie, Rhona, Stephanie, Jacqui, Audrey, Jo, Will and Davie

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Rewards

This project offers rewards in return for your donation.

£250 or more

112 of 200 claimed

Your name on our bar!

The name of your choice will be inscribed on our new bespoke bar which will be crafted by local tradespeople, hewn from Knoydart timber, engraved & resin sealed to protect for infinity. + *Shout out on our website and in our Forge Family Tree book. We expect this reward to be in high demand so be quick! Please note we have the right to refuse to inscribe anything offensive.

£30 or more

174 of 250 claimed

Been There, Done That...

Your one and only chance to get your hands on our limited edition Crowdfunder Pub Tee + *Shout out on our website and in our Forge Family Tree book.

£100 or more

Virtually a local - a bid on bar banter!

Distance is no object - be part of The Old Forge Family. Your £100 will give you a portal at the bar of the remotest pub in mainland Britain. You will be sent an access code to join us for two evening sessions at the Old Forge. + *Shout out on our website and in our Forge Family Tree book.

£150 or more

13 of 100 claimed

Reward Card

5% discount at The Old Forge (valid for three years - from date of reward delivery). Personalised eco-friendly reward card to keep in your wallet and flash at the bar. + *Shout out on our website and in our Forge Family Tree book.

£200 or more

7 of 100 claimed

Rogues Gallery

Your submitted photo will grace our wall alongside super supporters, framed & displayed in our bar for all to see. Your image displayed in our custom made framed collage. £30 credit behind the bar. (Can be used on food or drinks). + *Shout out on our website and in our Forge Family Tree book.

£50 or more

20 of 20 claimed

Make mine a Pint

A hands on chance to pour your own pint at the Guinness book of records remotest pub in Mainland Britain. + Crowdfunder T-shirt + *Shout out on our website and in our Forge Family Tree book.

£500 or more

10 of 10 claimed

Bottom's up

Park your rear and literally be part of the furniture! The perfect present for you or the ale lover in your life. Have the name you choose on one of our bar stools in the remotest pub, only 10 available! + VIP access code to join 2 live virtual pub sessions so you can enjoy the Forge from anywhere in the world. + *Shout out on our website and in our Forge Family Tree book.

£1,000 or more

10 of 10 claimed

The Inn Crowd

Be a VIP at our official opening! You and your guest's personal invite to our launch with £50 behind the bar to help you celebrate. + 1 Personalised eco reward card with 5% discount for 3 years from date of delivery. + A limited edition Crowdfunder T-shirt. + Your submitted photo in the rogues gallery photo collage. + *Shout out on our website and in our Forge Family Tree book.

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