Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

 

Why’s it taken so long - what’s been done so far?

It’s taken a long time because there’s been a lot to do. Here’s a list of various things that have happened. Most have been complicated and time-consuming. Some have involved weeks of painstaking research, drafting, circulating, collating feedback and rewriting.

Originally

·         Setting up original meeting, establishing interest, seeking volunteers, setting up a committee

·         Designing questionnaires and analysing results

Creating Structures

·         Researching and analysing options for organisational structure, making application

·         Creating Somersham Community Pub Ltd and registering it as a Community Benefit Society

·         Setting up bank account

·         Registering the pub as an asset of community value (ACV)

·         Fortnightly committee meetings

Feasibility and Plans

·         Commissioning pub valuation and building survey

·         Researching community-owned pubs and seeking support from advisory bodies

·         Carrying out feasibility study

·         Establishing standpoints of Mid Suffolk District Council and local Parish Council

·         Creating comprehensive business plan

PR and Marketing

·         Setting up, creating content for and managing website

·         Ditto Facebook and Twitter

·         Creating newsletters / e shots

·         Articles in the Link and In Touch

·         Creating signage and banners

·         Setting up PR events for TV, radio, local press (Suffolk punch procession, Case is Altered)

·         Media releases and interviews

Raising Capital

·         Creating fundraising events, publicising, organising

·         Researching platforms, negotiations, selecting Crowdfunder, devising incentives, providing copy and visuals

·         Creating prospectus and distributing widely

·         Devising leaflets and dropping door to door in villages and local businesses

·         Creating website content

·         Researching grants, making applications including one for Lottery funding

·         Applying to HMRC to register for EIS (Enterprise Investment Scheme)

·         Investigating loans

So lots of effort – but still not enough money to buy the pub!

Not yet! But to have raised around £210,000

a) is fantastic

b) demonstrates massive support

c) provides an incentive for further investment

The short-term aim is to raise money through loans so we can get the project off the ground by buying the Duke of Marlborough. The long-term aim is to sell more shares so that the pub becomes wholly community-owned.

So how much more money is needed?

Ideally £150,000 minimum. Over and above the purchase, capital is needed to open and operate the pub.

Is it really possible to achieve this?

Yes. Through:-

·         Loans

·         Shares

·         Grants

Why would anyone lend money?

The government’s new SITR (Social Investment Tax Relief) scheme makes lending very attractive to savers. By receiving tax relief of 30% on their loan, savers will effectively be earning approx. 7% per annum. Banks and building societies are rarely paying 3% at the moment, which makes 7% extremely appealing!

Sounds too good to be true…?

Don’t take our word for it. Search the benefits and risks, seek independent financial advice and check out:-  https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/social-investment-tax-relief-factsheet/social-investment-tax-relief  

What are the criteria for lending?

Minimum lending is £5,000 and maximum is £50,000. (If you would like to be involved in rescuing the Duke of Marlborough but don’t have that kind of money to lend, please join in by buying shares!) To fully benefit from SITR, you need to have sufficient UK tax liabilities.

How do I go about providing a loan?

Let James Batchelor-Wylam (james.batchelorwylam@gmail.com) or Gerard Kroon (grdkroon@gmail.com) know you’re interested in lending money. Wait for us to get scheme approval from HMRC. We’ll send documentation to you once we have approval. You can then submit your application.

I don’t want to supply a loan: can I still invest?

Of course! There are three ways of giving financial help. You can

·         buy shares  (minimum £250)

·         donate (any amount welcome)

All support is welcome!

What about grants?

We are seeking grants and making applications. It’s a long, laborious process but we need every penny we can get!

What about the price of the pub?

We are near agreement with the pub owners, but the story doesn’t stop at the purchase: we need capital in order to carry out essential building maintenance work, to buy the stock and to open and run the pub. £350,000 is the minimum…

 How can I help?

We always need volunteers to help us raise awareness of the campaign. If you want to join us and spread the word about the Duke, contact us at marlboroughsomersham@gmail.com or 01473 831352

Shares

  • Do I have to live in Somersham to become a shareholder?     Certainly not! We hope our shareholders will come from the wider Suffolk community, but anyone anywhere is eligible to apply for shares as long as you are over 18.  
  • Will my bank details be safe?    If you prefer to pay by card the details will be taken by paypal. They are a well respected international company handling millions of pounds annually. Please visit their website for further information.
  •  Can I pay by cheque?     Yes, if you would prefer to pay by cheque please download the cheque payment form HERE or drop into Somersham Community Shop to collect a copy. This has all the information you will need.
  •  Can I buy shares as a gift?       Yes you can – on the condition that the recipient is eligible to become a member (must be over 18), and also agrees to becoming a member. Remember to tick this box when you complete the form.
  • I can't afford the minimum investment. Is there any way I can help?   Yes. You can donate a smaller amount of money.  Or perhaps you could spare some time tohelp the committee with leaflets, fundraising, etc. Just get in touch!
  •  What if a deal can not be agreed with the owner?      If we do not buy the pub, all money will be returned to investors in full.
  • What if you don’t raise enough money?      If we don’t raise enough money to buy the pub, all money will be returned to investors in full.
  •  What other sources of money have you looked at?      We have received a number of grants from local and district council, but the conditions of these grants stipulate they can not be used towards purchasing the pub. They will, therefore, be spent on set up costs (present and future). We are also looking into securing loans if enough money cannot be made through shares.
  •  Can I re-sell my shares?        Shares can be returned to the company for resale but can not be transferred between individuals. In order to give the business a chance to get established, you will not be allowed to withdraw your money in the first three years. After this time you can apply to withdraw your money, but each request will be considered in view of the health of the business. If your withdrawal would leave the pub unable to fulfil its financial commitments, you may be asked to wait until more cash is available.
  •  Can I invest with my partner or as a family group?     In order to comply with legislation, only individuals or companies can become shareholders. Why not buy separate shares for each family member (18 or over)? Remember that in order to qualify for member offers your name must be on the share certificate!

 The Pub

  • Will volunteers run the pub?      Our research has shown that in order for the pub to have long-term financial sustainability, it is more likely to succeed with professionals running the business. We plan to have a full-time Manager/Front of House and a full-time chef, with the support of other full or part-time paid employees. That doesn’t mean we don’t want volunteers to help though! There will be plenty to do from gardening and DIY to organising events and marketing.
  • Will shareholders have a say in how the business is run?    All shareholders can put themselves forward to be elected to the Management Committee, which will work alongside the salaried staff throughout the year. The Management Committee will represent the members - shareholders will have an ongoing opportunity to provide feedback. However the salaried staff will have responsibility for the day to day running of the pub and will be given the confidence of the Management Committee.
  •  Will there be disabled access?    Our plans include improved wheelchair access to the pub, working within the legislation governing listed buildings.
  •  Are there going to be any local jobs created?     Yes. Once we have acquired the pub, we will be looking for staff to take up positions in the pub. Our business model plans for a full-time Manager/Front of house and a full-time chef to start with, supported by part-time bar staff and a part-time sous chef. These staffing levels will be monitored carefully while the business is establishing itself. 
  •  Will children be welcome?     We think it is important to make the Duke of Marlborough more family friendly. The final layout of the pub is yet to be determined but there will certainly be child friendly areas. We hope to acquire some extra land to develop an outside play area.
  •  What kind of food will the pub serve?     According to the results of the community survey people want to see good quality freshly cooked food made on the premises. We would plan to have a range of options from affordable ‘pub grub’ and bar snacks, to meals for more special occasions.  
  •  Will the pub have real beer?     Results of the community survey show that people want to see a range of cask ales as well as lager, cider and a good wine list. We are excited by the idea of supporting local breweries and have some fabulous producers on our doorstep.
  • Will there be Sunday lunches?     The plan is to serve roast dinners on a Sunday.
  •  Will there be a TV to watch sport?     Many respondents to the survey stated that they did not want a TV in the pub. However we have not completely discounted the possibility of having a separate area with TV for those who want it. This will depend on the final layout. We would consider screening major events such as the World Cup or Olympic games.
  •  Will we be able to take our dog?      There will be inside and outside areas suitable to sit with your dog.
  •  Will there be a room available to hire for parties/functions?      The final layout of the pub is yet to be determined. The back room, next to the road, is likely to be available for hire, either for daytime meetings or evening functions.
  •  Will there be a Juke Box/Pool Table/Gaming Machine/Darts?    Many people have said they do not want a juke box or gaming machines in the pub. A pool table would be popular, but we do not yet know if there would be enough space – this will depend on the final layout. A dartboard does not take up much space, and it would be great to have Somersham Darts Team in the local league.
  •  Will there be Wi Fi available?    We would like people to be able to use the Duke during the day for tea and coffee, cake and free Wi-fi. This would also be useful to local businesses wanting to use the pub for meetings.
  •  Will there be Veggie Menu / Gluten Free meals?     The Management Committee will work alongside the chef to cater for vegetarian and gluten free diners where possible.
  • Will there be a log fire?    Our vision of the pub would be a warm cosy place with a roaring log fire and we will look to enhance the existing fireplaces to make them more of a feature.
  •  Will there be a covered smoking area?    Yes, we will aim to provide smokers with somewhere dry and comfortable to go for a cigarette.

Have another question? Contact us.