More and more communities across the UK are taking action to protect endangered community assets and in doing so creating inclusive and innovative community businesses. Neighbours have been rallying together to rescue these precious hubs from closure. There are some fantastic examples of these across the Colchester and Tendring districts. We thought we’d share their inspiring stories.
Maybush Inn – Great Oakley
When their local pub closed in 2015 a group of villagers banded together to try to reopen it. They established a community benefit society – Great Oakley Community Hub Ltd. – and sought to buy the pub and reopen it on behalf of the community. It is a co-operative, not-for-profit company with locals investing money as shareholders. After much time and effort they got the keys on 12th February 2016 and have been open ever since.
Lion Corner Community Shop – Abberton & Langenhoe
In 2012 Langenhoe lost their pub. With few local amenities, locals wanted a shop and somewhere that could be a community hub. The Abberton and Langenhoe Community Benefit Society Ltd was formed to enable part of the old pub to be run as a shop by the community, for the community. After raising funds through community shares, their shop is up and running providing a key service for the local community as well as volunteering opportunities.
Great Bromley Cross Pub – Great Bromley
The Great Bromley Cross Pub Community Benefit Society Ltd managed to buy up their local pub after the previous owners decided to shut up shop. They raised money through community shares and now run the old pub with a team of volunteers. Alongside the pub and a full programme of events, they also run a post office, library and coffee shop out of the pub.
Community shares are a unique way to invest in your community. By buying shares in a community project, you help to establish community enterprises that can provide services and support to your community. Whether that’s helping to save a local pub, set up a local shop or save or establish a community asset. Unlike a traditional investment, it is first and foremost an investment in your community. As a shareholder you become a member of the community benefit society issuing the shares and gain a vote on how it is run.
Through community shares, we hope to be able to raise enough capital to purchase and restore the station house and open it up to the community as a cafe and community hub. Not only will this save the beautiful old station house building, but create a valuable asset for the community. A meeting place for all generations, and a place for people to gain volunteering experience
More info on community shares can be found here https://www.uk.coop/start-new-co-op/support/community-shares