Update 5th April
It’s only a few weeks since our last open meeting in February, but it feels like the world has changed entirely. We are all now coming to terms with living our lives differently for a while. It has been great to see people come together to support each other, helping out however we can across the village.
This challenging period will come to an end and when it does we want Stoke Ferry to have a new hub for our community, a place where people can have a laugh and a chat over a drink or a great meal, that brings people together and hopefully leads to more village activities being planned.
We are committed to saving The Blue Bell
More than 100 people have already responded to the village-wide survey to say what they hope The Blue Bell can be in future, the kind of pub, cafe, community and other services that they want. Many thanks to everyone who has taken part.
We will publish the full results soon. It is great that all age groups are represented in the survey, people from surrounding villages as well as Stoke Ferry, as well as households with and without children at home long-time residents and more recent arrivals. So the results should give us a really good picture of what the village wants. Nine out of ten said that Stoke Ferry should have a pub and there are great ideas coming through the survey.
It is clear that the village really wants a pub as a new hub for village life. At a meeting last a couple of weeks ago, the campaign working group committed to continuing the effort to save The Blue Bell for the village, on the back of overwhelming support from the village.
The working group has made great progress on a draft business plan and financial forecast. With the help of the Plunkett Foundation, we are setting up a Community Benefit Society as the formal organisation to bid for and run The Blue Bell. Of course, the current circumstances mean that we will not be able to run pop-up pubs to try out different approaches.
Update, 20th February
Second open meeting very successful, volunteers stepping forward
There was a lot of enthusiasm from everyone at the open meeting on 19th February to get on with the next steps without delay and many people signed up to volunteer for specific things:
• Running pop-up pub nights - probably in Stoke Ferry Village Hall to start with - hopefully with music
• Delivering surveys to every house in the village - stay tuned for more details
• Promoting the campaign
If you could not be at the last open meeting but would like to volunteer, use the form on the Contact page.
We need to object to the appeal to allow The Blue Bell to be turned into a house. Find out more
Update, 6th February
More than 80 people attended an open meeting in Stoke Ferry Village Hall on 15th January 2020.
There was a clear view then that people wanted an inclusive and welcoming venue to cater for the whole community and to act as a village hub.
Now a group of villagers has come together to prepare a community bid to rescue the Blue Bell and give Stoke Ferry the community hub it wants.
We will need volunteers to get the campaign off the ground to find out what people want the Blue Bell to be like, as well as helping to raise the necessary funding to buy the premises and get it up and ready.
We have just a few short months, until the end of August, to make the bid.
We would also like to run some pop-up pubs in the village so locals can see how a permanent pub in Stoke Ferry could work and how many people are likely to use it.
Complete the survey that will launch soon to let us know what you would like from the Blue Bell.
If you would like to stay in touch or get involved with this exciting project, sign up using the form below.
Come to the next open meeting at Stoke Ferry Village Hall on 19th February at 7pm.
What Stoke Ferry wants from a village pub
Results of our survey of villagers
Around one-third of Stoke Ferry households put in a response to our survey in March and April. This means the results give a very reliable idea of what the village wants from a pub.
Here are some of the key points.
Over 90% of respondents thought that Stoke Ferry should have a village pub.
While the single biggest reason for visiting a pub was to meet up with friends and family, offering food – whether a quick bite or a full meal – is very vital.
There was also strong support for all-day, café style services.
Over half of respondents spent between £6 and £15 on drinks for themselves when they were last at a pub and nearly half spent the same on food. This give us a good information for the cash flow forecast.
Although a good number of respondents said entertainment was important, a smaller number currently visit pubs specifically for entertainment. This might reflect that there is a limited entertainment offering in pubs locally.
Being family- and dog-friendly was important to lots of respondents.
A community pub needs to support and not undermine services offered by other organisations in the village and should host community and club meetings.
The Campaign group is hugely grateful to everyone for taking the time to complete the survey.