community shares | News

Community-led venture inspires new pathway for Wales’ dying pub industry

Community shares scheme raises £85k to bring high street pub back to life.

By Jo Brown · December 5, 2018

A high street pub in the coastal town of Nefyn, which has been shut since 2009, has seen its future ownership secured thanks to a community shares venture raising over £85k to purchase the freehold.

With the help of the Community Shares Wales project delivered by the Wales Co-operative Centre, the group launched a share offer in May of this year to enable them to raise 50% of the necessary funds to purchase The Sportsman, a once thriving pub in the heart of the Llyn Peninsula. Asking for a minimum purchase of 50 shares, costing £1 each, they attracted in excess of 500 investors.

With Wales losing on average one pub a week*, shareholders of the new community-owned pub are calling on other communities to be brave and come together to save their local assets.

Elin Angharad Davies, newly appointed Director and Secretary of The Sportsman, said:

“This open day is a significant moment in the history of Nefyn – the day the town got its local institution back.”

“When we first set out on this journey as a small group of volunteers, we never believed in our wildest dreams that we would be able to raise over eighty thousand pounds in just over eight weeks. We are completely overwhelmed by the response of our community to save their local pub, which used to be the central meeting place for sports clubs and visitors to the Llyn Peninsula.

“The training and support we’ve received from the Wales Co-operative Centre through this process has been second-to-none. From establishing us as a Community Benefit Society, so we can include as wide an ownership as possible, to guiding us through the legals of a community share offer, they’ve been a reliable advisor and mentor in times of uncertainty.”

Carly McCreesh, Community Shares Wales Project Manager at the Wales Co-operative Centre said:

“The local pub is the heart and soul of many a community across the country, but sadly Wales is currently losing one pub per week. A community share scheme can help empower local people to save the places that matter to them, or help owners leave their legacy in safe hands.”

“There are over fifty successful community owned pubs across the UK and we are currently running live share offers with a number of groups in Wales to help increase that number, including Cross Foxes Inn in Garndolbenmaen and Menter y Plu in Llanystumdwy. By investing in the services and facilities that matter to them, and by having a say in the way they are run, communities gain a sense of ownership and grow stronger as they work together to change their future.”

Elin added:

“There is still a lot of work for us to make this pub the heart beat of the community once again but we have a bright future and a future which is now owned and run by the people. Over 500 of them! You can’t put a price on that.”

The Community Shares Wales (CSW) project, funded by The Big Lottery Fund is designed to help communities run share offers to save or improve their local assets. Support can be offered at any stage throughout the process, from inception and preparation through to completion and after care.

If you are thinking about saving a local asset and developing a share scheme within your community, please visit: https://wales.coop/save-your-local/