You have probably heard the news by now, that our offer on the Duke of Marlborough has been accepted! The campaign to reopen our beautiful, oak-beamed local is a big step closer to becoming reality!
We are set to become the 5th community-owned pub in Suffolk, and one of approximately 50 across the country. The individual and collective effort has been awe-inspiring. It’s involved twenty-two months of hard work following closure of the pub in at Christmas 2014. Over £300,000 has now been raised in share-holdings and loans: enough to make our offer!
Dr Sarah Caston, who started the campaign says, "Massive thanks to everyone who’s helped the campaign over the past two years. It has been a long haul to get to this point - but the support has been amazing – and we're now nearly there! We really can make sure that 500 or 600 years of hospitality at the Duke don’t come to an end now.”
So What Now?
The process of purchasing the pub continues. Exchange and completion have to be agreed. There’s all the conveyancing to be done. Things always take longer than expected – but we want it to happen as soon as possible, and not too far into the new year. There’s loads to do before then including:-
1. raising more money
2. keeping people informed
3. gaining more willing hands and (free-of-charge) professional support
1. Raising More Money
To get the pub set up and open, as well as plan for future improvements and renovations, we need more money! Why not join the 230 people who have already invested in this way, or increase your holding if you are one of them? At the same time as saving a precious community asset, you can benefit from 30% tax relief through the EIS scheme. Any questions, just get in touch!
2. Keeping People Informed - Meeting
We will be holding a public meeting in the Village Hall in the near future – we will put up a sign and put a note on the website when a date is set. The meeting will include an update on the purchase, plans for managing the business short and long-term – and an opportunity to share ideas. All are welcome: please spread the word!
3. Gaining more willing hands and (free-of-charge) professional support
If you, or any of your friends, family or contacts have professional expertise that you would be willing to give, please let us know. This might include things as diverse as support with:-
- Buying the pub and meeting statutory obligations to get it up and running
- Overseeing or providing building /decorating / carpentry/ garden improvement works
- Researching collective-buying and service and goods providers
- Setting up volunteer employment contracts
- Fundraising, marketing, website
- Customer services.
We are looking at setting up an Operations / Management Committee: please let us know if you have relevant commercial experience and would be interested in one of the crucial roles. There must be a great team to make this thing work! And of course there are all the everyday jobs too – which are every bit as important. Just let us know what you’d like to volunteer to do…
Here's to 2017 – and an open Duke of Marlborough!
James Batchelor-Wylam - chair of Save the Duke (01473 831042)