Share issue being launched in bid to buy village's last pub

The Blue Bell Inn closed in March 2018 as a result of poor trading. Picture: Sarah Hussain

Villagers are hoping to buy the Blue Bell, at Stoke Ferry - Credit: Sarah Hussain

Buy a share and help us save the Blue Bell - that's the message from villagers as they launch a fund raising drive to buy their community' last pub.

The Campaign to Save the Blue Bell at Stoke Ferry will be setting up shop in the The Square from 11am - 12-noon on Wednesday.

Members of Stoke Ferry Community Enterprises, the company which has been formed to try to buy the pub, will be holding a socially-distanced, open-air event in the Market Square, Stoke Ferry to launch the much-anticipated community share offer, which will run until January 31.

Anyone interested in buying shares or just wanting to find out more, can come along, pick up their copy of the share prospectus and have their questions answered. Shares are also available online at .

Shares in the Blue Bell cost £50 each, but investors can buy up to 600 should they wish. Each will have an equal say in how the pub is run.

Organisers are hoping that that local people will encourage their friends and families to invest too and point out that shares in a village pub would also make a unique Christmas gift.

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With £100,000 already expected as a grant and loan from the Plunkett Foundation, which helps rural communities set up businesses, the group has set a minimum target of £180,000 to be raised through the share offer. The total amount will fund the purchase and renovation of the Blue Bell, allowing it to open in the summer of 2021.

Chair Stephen Ward said: “We know there is a huge amount of support in Stoke Ferry and surrounding villages to save the future of the Blue Bell. We have already had many pledges and now can finally start selling shares to anyone wishing to own a stake. We have a solid business plan for what we know will be a fantastic English village pub and a real community hub.”

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Company secretary Alan Lury added: "I am delighted to say that we have been awarded the Community Shares Standard Mark by the Community Shares Unit meaning investors can invest with total confidence that our share offer meets national standards of good practice and they can join our growing band of community heroes.”

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