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SIDMOUTH: Pub campaign continues fight after funding setback
Thursday, 12 June 2014
Campaigners in Sidbury fighting to make their village pub the first community-owned establishment of its kind in East Devon have made new efforts to obtain funding for the project, after failing to raise enough money in their initial appeal. Sidbury Community Enterprises, the company set up to oversee the bid, had an offer accepted to buy the pub earlier this year, but were faced with raising £200,000 in just a few weeks. After rallying round the village for support in the form of a share offer appeal, campaigners managed to collect more than half the amount – but not enough to go ahead with the purchase. Fred Burnett, Chair of Sidbury Community Enterprises, said: “It has been most heartening to have received investments from more than 150 people who have provided in excess of £100,000. “We are incredibly proud to have raised so much money from such a large number of investors in a relatively short period of time. “This, we believe, demonstrates that our vision for retaining the Red Lion has significant support. “We always knew that our target to raise £200,000 through the share offer was challenging to say the least.” If the money cannot be sourced the bid could fall through. But the company’s management committee has come up with a new plan to raise the cash. An application is set to be submitted for a Government-funded grant to help finalise the purchase, and campaigners remain optimistic despite the setback. Company Secretary John Loudoun said: “This grant has only become available since we launched the share offer. The committee has proposed applying for a grant of at least £100,000 in order to make up the shortfall in the funds. “If successful in obtaining this grant it would not be paid out until September. This would however allow it the opportunity to continue to seek additional investors who could purchase shares or provide it with donations. None of this alters the business plan or vision for a future Red Lion.” The share offer appeal ran for five weeks and campaigners distributed information to all Sidbury residents and invited them to two open days, attended by around 150 people, to look at refurbishment plans. As well as its traditional function, Sidbury Community Enterprises is looking to create opportunities for families, young people and older residents to make use of the pub as a social space. The company has written to its investors to seek agreement on the approach before submitting the grant application.
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