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Knoydart’s small community of 100 people on the Knoydart peninsula has now launched a bold fundraising campaign to purchase its only local pub under community ownership.
The Old Forge Community Benefit Society Ltd has launched the community share offer with the goal to raise £204,500 by inviting members of the community and interested parties to invest in the society and become shareholders.
Stephanie Harris, secretary of the society, said that after months of hard work the community was excited to launch the share offer and begin raising vital capital to purchase The Old Forge pub.
‘By investing in shares, members will have a direct say in the future success of the society and the pub once under community ownership,’ said Ms Harris.
Community shares are a form of share capital unique to community benefit societies.
As a social investment for the greater good, profits will be reinvested back in to the business and other local projects that provide wider community benefit.
Shareholders benefit from interest payments and other members’ perks; have voting rights at meetings and the opportunity to stand for the management committee.
The investment raised will go towards the overall capital required to make an offer on the pub.
The society has submitted an application to the Scottish Land Fund, which it
expects to have a decision on in the next couple of weeks, and if successful the share funds will be combined with the land fund grant for acquisition.
Ms Harris continued: ‘Under our society’s rules, 75 percent of the shareholder members must be residents within our community, and this is to ensure that the pub will always be managed by the community it serves.
‘However, this means that we have set ourselves an ambitious target to raise over £200,000 from around just 100 people.
‘To maximise our fundraising potential, we have set the minimum investment amount for the 25 per cent of non-resident shareholders at £10,000. Group applications are
welcome as well as individual members.’
The society has received national and international coverage on the buyout attempt this year so far, and support continues to pour in from around the world.
The society plans to launch a crowdfund campaign upon conclusion of the share offer which will be an opportunity for many more people to get involved in the project and put their own stamp on the future of the Forge.
Speaking about the reasons to take a community ownership bid forward, Ms Harris explained that in such a small community, pubs played a vital role in the social and economic health of the area.
‘As Knoydart has developed over the last decade, unfortunately our pub has not and today it does not provide the services that locals and visitors expect,’ she added.
‘We feel very strongly that under community ownership the pub can be rebuilt in to a thriving business at the heart of the community again, and today marks a huge milestone in making that happen.’
The share offer will run for approximately four weeks, and the documents associated with the offer are available to view on the society’s website at www.theoldforgecbs.org/invest