Campaigners aiming to save the historic Puzzle Hall Inn as a community asset have raised more than £40,000 in less than 48 hours through a Crowdfunding page to boost their bid to buy it, with the group’s sealed bid having to be submitted to the vendor estate agent by 9am today (Tuesday).
Puzzle Hall Community Pub Ltd is urging people who feel they can support the Crowdfunding bid to ensure the Hollins Mill Lane, Sowerby Bridge, pub stays as a community asset to log onto https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/be-a-piece-of-the-puzzle and make their investment.
Fundraising events have run since April, including a recent concert fundraiser at nearby The Hollins, with the aim of raising a £150,000 pot to give the group a good chance when the Puzzle is auctioned.
PHCP Ltd chairman Sam Vine said the group were told only last Thursday members needed to make their sealed bid tomorrow and decided to step up the pace with the Crowdfunding page.
The Crowdfunding page was set up last Saturday night and by lunchtime today has been backed to an amount of more than £40,000.
Sam said he hoped people would log on to the Crowdfunding page, where detailed information including the business plan and share offer was available for potential investors - people can do this from a minimum figue of £300 to a maximum of £35,000 - to scrutinise and if they felt they wanted to support the bid they would be very welcome.
“I would ask them to go and have a look on the Crowdfunding page, have a look at all the information and make a decision as to whether they would invest.
“We think the Puzzle is a community asset. It has been there for 400 years and we want to keep it as part of the fabric of Sowerby Bridge for many years to come,” he said.
Money raised will be used to buy to The Puzzle if the bid is successful, complete extensive repairs and refurbishment, buy and install fixtures and fittings, buy stock, and open and run the pub (including professional fees involved in raising the cash and completing the purchase).
The group plans a complete programme of repair, refurbishment of the inside and outside stage areas, the cellar and bar, renew the toilets for accessibility, install Wi-Fi to facilitate community group activities, install an induction loop and good quality PA, mixing desk and sound system. In the business plan, in year 1 they have also added in some contingency amounts for unforeseen expenses, and a buffer of working capital to enable PHCP Ltd to get through the first year as it finds its feet.
In doing so the group aims to secure the iconic inn as a long-term asset for the community, establishing it as a safe, supportive, accessible environment for everyone, including older people, teenagers, minority groups and isolated individuals, to feel welcome and meet people and to run an events programme supporting and promoting local live music. They also aim to develop it as an attractive, flexible, multi‐purpose, facility that enables participation in social, cultural and leisure activities for all sectors of the community, also supporting and investing in other community projects that meet its values.
In return investors will become part of a community project that makes a difference to people, tackling social cohesion, loneliness and isolation and increasing belonging, and have membership of the society which owns the pub and elects the board of Directors who oversee the pub.
The group, which began as Friends of the Puzzle Hall, added: “We’ve applied for tax relief for the investment which, if successful (and we expect to be), will mean every investor who pays income tax can claim up to 50 per cent of the value of their investment back against their tax return.”
You can also view at promotional video made by the group to support their bid at https://www.puzzlehall.org.uk/promotion/