The Red Lion Culross Community Share Offer

by The Red Lion Culross Community Group in Culross, Scotland, United Kingdom

We did it
On 31st July 2021 we successfully raised £83,090 with 213 investors in 95 days

The Red Lion is a much loved pub / restaurant both in Culross, and the wider community; there is overwhelming worldwide support to keep it.

by The Red Lion Culross Community Group in Culross, Scotland, United Kingdom

New stretch target

The extra money would give us the potential to quickly develop community benefits in addition to the revenue from the business.


What is this share offer about?

This share offer is your opportunity to become a part owner of a wonderful, rural pub in one of the most picturesque and historic locations in Fife (maybe even Scotland!). As the only pub / restaurant within a 5 mile radius, the Red Lion Inn is vital to the local economy, supports local employment, offers respite to the many passing tourists and most of all, is the beating heart of our community.

This is your chance to make sure the Red Lion Inn, Culross, can continue its long history of welcoming locals and visitors alike, with the added benefit of community ownership.


Past and present

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Known locally as ‘The Red’, for many years it was a Gothenburg Inn and is one of the few remaining today.  Gothenburg Inns were part of the Public House Trust system and acted as community centres, places of hospitality and meeting places - so it would be very apt if it was now to return to similar use. 

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Today it continues to offer visitors a warm welcome, great pub food and a wee dram. With consistently high review ratings from customers and an active role in community life, the Red Lion is a successful, prosperous business.

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Some folk even get married in the Red Lion.......

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It is the largest employer of young people in the area and has seen many of them move on to successful careers in teaching, catering, secretarial and other sectors. This introduction to the world of work has propelled many a former employee on to a successful career. It is a key intention of the proposed community ownership to continue offering vital employment opportunities and work experience to the younger members of the Culross community.

Some of the past staff may recognise themselves in the below picture, as well as those still enjoying their time at the Red Lion........

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Location, location, location…...

Culross is an ancient royal burgh situated on the North shore of the Forth estuary; it was a major port in the fifteenth century, trading extensively with Europe. As Scotland’s most complete example of a burgh of the 17th and 18th centuries, Culross is a very popular tourist destination, hosting visitors from around the globe. There is an extensive National Trust for Scotland presence in the village, and as well as managing Culross Palace, they own and let a number of restored properties.

The village is also used as a location for many historically based films and TV shows and of course, the cast and crew need somewhere to eat and relax!

Most recently it was used to depict the village of Cranesmuir in the popular Outlander series - some may recognise these two stars enjoying a well-earned drink at the bar…..

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Over the last few years the village has lost its Post Office, its butchers shop, the village shop, the other pub and has had to fight (successfully) to keep the village primary school. The former premises of all of the foregoing are now residential, with the exception of the butchers, where the internal tiles are 'listed', and it now functions as a small cafe.

Why we want to buy the Red Lion

The Red Lion Inn has operated  profitably within the village for many years, and for the last thirty or so years with the current owners, who now wish to retire. Having put the pub up for sale, there was initial interest from property developers and also pub chain companies; however, the owners are keen to resist options that might either diminish the community spirit the pub currently enjoys, or that will result in the disappearance of the only existing pub in the village.

The community suffered the vagaries of a developer during the last pub ‘conversion’ and have no wish to go through a similar experience again. The Red Lion is a much loved asset in the village and there is overwhelming support to keep it as a village amenity.

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So earlier this year, a group of enthusiastic and engaged community members came together to look at the option of a community buy out. A Community Benefit Society was formed and they successfully raised enough funds to progress the idea and complete all the necessary prerequisites that a community share offer requires. www.dunfermlinepress.com/news/19100479.culross-share-offer-village-bids-buy-red-lion-inn/

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Our goal

Our goal is that the community will be able to own the Red Lion and operate it for the benefit of the community.

We have already established a Community Benefit Society, West Fife Community Trading Limited (WFCTL) (FCA Reg. No. 8541). The aim is that WFCTL will retain oversight of the pub’s operations but will let it out to a tenant to run it on a day-to-day basis. There has already been keen interest shown by existing staff to take on that tenancy, which is extremely encouraging.

It is envisaged that the Red Lion will maintain its current offering and operate profitably, with the extra benefit of surplus income going back into the community via Culross Development Trust, who will distribute money to local projects.

Some of the potential benefits which the pub building could offer are:

  • Use of the pub car park as a sustainable location for the village mart and farmer’s market
  • The upper flat being used as a central meeting space for the many community groups in the village
  • A book exchange where avid readers can swap books and discuss their latest findings
  • A small exhibition space for the local heritage group to display local artefacts

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What the share offer will fund

This Community Share Offer is to fill the funding gap between what we are able to receive from grant funding and the final cost of the project. To buy the building will cost in the region of £750,000 - £800,000 and we hope to raise around £250,000 of that through this share offer. The bulk of the rest of the money is expected to come from the Scottish Land Fund and we are currently awaiting a decision.


Investor incentives

We project to be able to pay investor interest of 0.1% above the Bank of England base rate after year three.

And for those investing £100 or more, we have various additional rewards for you, including mugs, t-shirts and a special shareholder mid-week discount.

Shares are £25 each and you can invest any amount from £25 up to £35,000, in £25 increments.

Those who reside in the community of Culross Community Council will become a Community Contributor Member and be able to stand for election to the governing board at Annual General Meetings.

Those who live elsewhere will become a Contributor Member of the Society.

By investing you will be supporting the community and helping to keep this wonderful venue working for the good of the community, the staff and all the voluntary groups that will benefit from the funds generated in future years.

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Supporting documents

The Rules of the Society, the Business Plan and the Share Offer document can all be downloaded below.

We urge you to download and read these documents before investing.

- The Share Offer document describes different ways of investing, how to invest for a group, and how to invest for others as gifts.

- The Business Plan includes details of the proposed operating model and potential community benefits that could be gained from community ownership of the Red Lion.


The board of the West Fife Trading Company Limited are really excited to take this project forward and secure the future of the Red Lion as a much loved community asset. We really hope you will consider investing and help Culross retain its only pub / restaurant.   Thank you!

Our supporters

We have applied to The Scottish Land Fund for support, and are grateful for the support we’ve received so far from Community Shares Scotland and The Plunkett Foundation. 

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Levels of Investment

£1,000 or more

£1,000 Investment

Pledge £1,000 or more, in increments of £25, to receive one share per £25 invested. Become a contributor member of the Society, receive a complimentary Red Lion mug, T-shirt (S/M/L) and midweek discount in The Red Lion restaurant.

£25 or more

£25 Investment

Pledge £25 or more, in increments of £25, to receive one share per £25 invested and become a contributor member of the Community Benefit Society.

£100 or more

£100 Investment

Pledge £100 or more, in increments of £25, to receive one share per £25 invested. Become a contributor member of the Society and receive a complimentary Red Lion mug.

£250 or more

£250 Investment

Pledge £250 or more, in increments of £25, to receive one share per £25 invested. Become a contributor member of the Society and receive a complimentary Red Lion T-shirt (S, M or L available).

£500 or more

£500 Investment

Pledge £500 or more, in increments of £25, to receive one share per £25 invested. Become a contributor member of the Society and receive midweek discounts in The Red Lion restaurant.

£10,000 or more

£10,000 Investment

Pledge £10,000 or more, in increments of £25, to receive one share per £25 invested. Become a contributor member of the Society, receive a complimentary Red Lion mug, T-shirt (S/M/L), midweek discounts in The Red Lion restaurant and receive the famous Red Lion steak apron.

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