The ongoing campaign to save the Plough pub in Covenham has taken a huge leap forward this week, with residents now invited to buy shares with the aim of purchasing the building for community use.
A couple of years ago, the vacant pub was sold by the brewery to a developer from outside Lincolnshire, who has tried and failed to get planning permission to convert the building into housing.
The work that this group have done, against amazing opposition... I take my hat off to them.Marie Chapman
The Covenham Plough Community Hub (CPCH) team - who want to retain the building as a pub and cafe, alongside a village shop and function room - have already made offers higher than the valuation price, but they are making one last push to raise enough money to convince the owner to sell the site to them.
At a fundraising village fete on Saturday (July 15), the team announced that they are now offering shares for sale - at £250 each - and have also launched a ‘Crowdfunder’ page to receive donations.
Taxpaying shareholders may be eligible for rebates of between 30-50 per cent, and a dividend on the shares will be available in future years.
The team needs to raise around £260,000 for the final bid, and it has been revealed that an anonymous donor has contributed £5,000 towards this offer.
The team has a full business plan in place, approved by the Plunkett Foundation and awarded the Community Shares Standard Award.
Vice-chair of the CPCH, Dave Washer, said “We want to get people together, both locally in Covenham and also in the surrounding villages.
“We want to draw people back into the area to use our facilities in the village.”
Marie Chapman, a former community development officer for the Lincolnshire Community and Voluntary Service, has been helping the CPCH team with their bid.
Marie told the Leader: “This is philanthropy for the 21st century.
“It’s got a sound business plan behind it, so that it’s there for the community for years to come with a sound financial basis behind it.
“If you have a pub and community facilities, then you strengthen your community because your villagers come together, you’re giving them a place to be - and also, local property prices will go up too.
“The work that this group have done, against amazing opposition... I take my hat off to them. It’s phenomenal.”
• Visit www.crowdfunder.co.uk/covenham-plough-community-hub to make a donation, and visit www.covcom.co.uk for more information about the campaign.