Crowdfunder ‘last piece of puzzle’ for pub buyout

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A crowdfunder to raise £40,000 towards the community buyout of The Old Forge pub in Knoydart had surpassed its target only five days after being launched.

The Old Forge Community Benefit Society Limited launched the appeal on Thursday November 18 and the total had already reached £55,820 by Tuesday morning.

Mainland Britain’s Remotest Pub (Guinness World Records) was put up for sale in January and residents came together to discuss the possibility of a community buyout to return the pub to being a village hub.

Fundraising started in the summer, with the society securing vital capital through a community share offer and successful applications to the Scottish Land Fund and the Community Ownership Fund.

Isla Miller, management committee member, said: ‘The crowdfund campaign is the last piece of the puzzle in our complex fundraising strategy.

‘With the majority of the capital that we need now secured, we were able to crunch the numbers to work out our shortfall and that’s where crowdfunding comes in to play.’

The crowdfund campaign aimed to raise the £40,000 in 30 days but the target had already been smashed by Monday. A £60,000 stretch target has now been implemented and the hope is funds secured through this will go towards upgrades to the bar area once the pub has been secured by the community.

Crowdfunder supporters will have the chance to have their name engraved in the new bar-top which will be made from local timber and constructed by local craftsmakers. Other rewards include discount loyalty cards, special edition merchandise and virtual pub nights where punters tune in live to the Forge bar.

‘We spent a long time coming up with a range of rewards to suit every taste and budget,’ said Jackie Robertson, part of the team working on the crowdfunder.

‘Originally, we thought we would need to crowdfund for half the money needed to buy the Old Forge, which was a daunting prospect, but we have been really lucky to be successful in our grant applications and the community share offer.

‘With money in the bank already, we need this last part for us to be able to carry out the work needed to make the building last for future generations.’

With the majority of funds secured, the society is in the process of submitting a formal offer to the seller. If successful, the Community Benefit Society structure ensures that locals and supporters will be in control of the pub’s future with businesses operations defined with community benefit at the forefront.

Profits are reinvested back in to the business and other local projects, not distributed
amongst shareholders.

The crowdfunder can be viewed at www.crowdfunder.co.uk/the-old-forge-knoydart.