A last-gasp rush for shares in a popular pub venture has led to drinkers’ dreams of seeing it run as a co-operative reach the brink of reality.
Supporters witnessed a massive surge of support last weekend when they were out in force highlighting the Fox and Goose co-operative pub project in Hebden Bridge town centre and saw investments top the £100,000 mark.
Now the share offer has been extended until midnight on Monday, August 12, in the hope that the venture will clear the final financial hurdle and meet its £130,000 target.
The 11th-hour shares bonanza took the share offer over 82 per cent of its target and by Tuesday morning nearly 200 funders had invested more than £107,000.
Coun Dave Young, chairman of the Fox Friends Steering Group, said: “This is absolutely fantastic – we’re all bowled over by the way everyone has rallied round during the last few days of the campaign. This incredible response means the dream is now turning into reality.
“We’d like to thank the Hebden Bridge Times and all the local media for helping us.
“Now, a number of people, including quite a few Fox regulars and loyal supporters, have indicated that they were planning to invest but needed more time to apply. It’s important that as many people as possible can be a part of this wonderful community project – and we’ve still got nearly £25,000 to raise to hit the target figure – so we will be keeping the share offer running for just another two weeks.”
At the end of last week, investment was building gradually and share applications were just past the 50 per cent mark. The target has been set at £130,000 to buy the traditional real ale pub on Heptonstall Road and to cover essential repairs and refurbishment – although nothing will be done which would change the traditional character of the historic hostelry.
Supporters can buy shares from £100 to the legal maximum of £20,000. More than half of the investors are from Hebden Bridge itself, with others coming from across Calderdale and the rest of Yorkshire – but there are also funders from as far afield as London, Nottingham, Chesterfield, Stratford and Burton upon Trent.
Unlike many of the pubs saved by communities across the UK, the Fox and Goose is still very much open for business, but it is under threat because of the deteriorating health of the landlady. There are now around 19 co-operative pubs in the UK and, so far, not one has had to close.
The Fox and Goose is steeped in history, with records of an alehouse on the site going back to medieval times. Calderdale Council has formally listed the pub as a community asset, which means the local community has to be given first option to buy it.
Supporters can read the share offer documents and make their investment by visiting www.foxandgoose.org. To pay by cheque there is a downloadable application form on the site or on the share offer site www.microgenius.org.uk. Anyone with no internet access can speak to a steering group member – by leaving a message at the bar- and help will be available.