Lowther Arms Community Project Ltd
We have been approached by a local community group about their Mawbray project, which BECBC members might find of interest and support:
We are the Lowther Arms Community Project Ltd (a registered Community Benefit Society), a small local community group passionate about saving our traditional pub in the heart of our village.
The pub has been here in Mawbray since 1847, perfectly situated on the Solway Coast, with cycling and rambling routes alongside superb panoramic views. It is a pub with potential for locals and visitors alike. Sadly, the pub has closed and is for sale, possibly for development, and we only have a few weeks to raise the money to buy it for our community.
We are currently seeking to raise funds through a Community Shares Offer to buy the Lowther Arms and to develop it as a community hub with additional services that will address the social needs of local people and attract visitors to our area – it will be More Than A Pub. Our intention is to appoint a professional tenant to run the business and for volunteers to work alongside them to provide some of the extra services. Full details can be found athttps://www.thelowtherarms.co.uk/buy-shares/ . Documents available to download include a comprehensive Busines Plan (including a social impact matrix) and our Shares Prospectus and Application Form.
Individuals and companies can invest up to £30,000. Shares cannot be traded, but after an initial lock-in period of 3 years it is possible to apply to the Society for shares to be withdrawn at face value, however, this is a long term investment that will allow members to have a say in the running of the Society. If our project doesn’t go ahead for any reason all money will be returned without any deduction by the end of March 2021.
We need to raise funds as soon as possible as Allerdale Borough Council will soon consider an application for change of use. If this is approved the property will become a private house and it is likely that the small caravan site will be built on.
Our project receives support through the More Than A Pub Programme https://plunkett.co.uk/mtap-2020/ It is now well recognised that the Community Pub model brings a wide range of benefits to rural communities. The track record of Community Pubs is extremely strong in that prior to lockdown none had failed and during lockdown most continued to trade and provided existing and new More Than A Pub services and benefits to their communities.
Our business plans, including Community Benefit Plan and Social Impact Matrix, have all been scrutinised by Plunkett Foundationhttps://plunkett.co.uk/strategy/ and Key Fund https://thekeyfund.co.uk/, organisations which have a long track record of supporting and maintaining community businesses in neighbourhoods where it is clear that a positive social impact will be achieved.
We have just received confirmation that our shares offer will now be supported by the Community Shares Booster Programme, which is funded by Power to Change and run by the Community Shares Unit http://communityshares.org.uk/ . Under this programme up to £100,000 is available to match applications for shares. This means that from now onwards for every pound invested by individuals or businesses, a pound will be invested in shares by the Booster Programme. The match shares will be held by Co-operatives UK, a partner in the Community Shares Unit. This extra support has been awarded in recognition of the potential for our project to deliver genuine benefits and we have extended our Shares offer until 18th October to allow new investors to come forward to help us maximise the benefit of the Booster equity match. I hope that BECBC businesses will be able to join more than 100 individuals who have already invested over £70,000.