Your questions answered
What are the plans for the Blue Bell?
Based on what the community told us in the village-wide survey we have developed a plan for a sustainable community business that will be so much more than a pub.
The business will be owned by community shareholders, so that anyone can have a stake and a say in their local pub. We have set up a Community Benefit Society, (CBS) Stoke Ferry Community Enterprise Limited, to purchase and manage the pub.
The Blue Bell will be a sort of living room for Stoke Ferry, welcoming visitors from far and wide, supporting the local economy and working with local businesses, promoting local initiatives, showcasing local talent and generally enhancing village life. It will create employment and training opportunities too.
The Blue Bell will bring vital services to back the village, such a being a prescription drop off and collection point and parcel depot. it will work as a hub for the mobile post office and library that visit the village, provide daytime cafe services and a venue for monthly carers lunches. It will host a regular book swapping and reading group, a citizen's cafe with regular speakers and regular events for families as well as all the traditional pub services.
Why not seek a private buyer to take over the Blue Bell as a pub?
There was a lot of support for this at the open public meeting on 15th January. If a potential private buyer emerges, the group will work with them to make a success of the Blue Bell.
Who is running the working group planning the community bid?
The group is being formed by people who expressed an interest in securing the future of the Blue Bell as a community asset following the open meeting on 15th January. Meet the working group.
What is the status of this group?
The group has established a Community Benefit Society (CBS) as the best legal vehicle for enabling community ownership of the business through a share offer that will launch soon.
Can anyone join the board?
The board needs to contain a balance of key skills and experience to be effective. The skills that are needed on the board are as follows and the area where there is currently a gap is in bold:
Communications and marketing
At the first Annual General Meeting, in 2021, shareholders will vote to appoint a the board.
How will you involve the community?
We are committed to making this a genuinely community-led project.
Our survey gathered responses from one-third of all households in Stoke Ferry. We have a growing mailing list and are using established online forums (e.g. Stoke Ferry Market Place) and our own website, Facebook and Twitter accounts to share information and get feedback. We are also securing a great deal of mainstream media coverage, raising awareness and support beyond Stoke Ferry.
Shareholders will be consulted closely and will be able to vote on key issues.