Shouldham villagers ready for a Great Share Launch to buy a much-loved pub
- Credit: IAN BURT
A public meeting will be held to launch a campaign by residents to buy their village pub and reopen it for the good of the community.
The event, already being dubbed the Great Share Launch, will be the first chance villagers in Shouldham have to purchase £50 shares in the King's Arms as they attempt to raise the £315,000 needed to buy the venue from landlord Punch Taverns.
The popular pub was closed last year after its previous tenants struggled to keep up with rent payments.
That led residents to fear that the community of Shouldham, which once boasted six pubs, would suffer.
They will officially launch their campaign at Shouldham Village Hall next Friday, where South West Norfolk MP Liz Truss will speak in support of the bid.
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Phil Harriss, secretary of the Save Our King's Arms (SOKA) campaign, said: 'We are making great progress towards buying the King's Arms and turning it into west Norfolk's first community pub.
'Our campaign is now entering its critical phase.
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'The open meeting will give everyone an opportunity to learn more about the project and to ask any questions.'
The campaign, backed by the EDP, has already received £70,000 in provisional pledges.
Organisers have been told by HM Revenue and Customs that anyone who buys shares will qualify for a 50pc tax relief on their investment, through the government's Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS).
Over the weekend there will be a series of events in Shouldham to celebrate the campaign launch, including a free beer and music festival on the village green on Saturday and Sunday, with more than 20 real ales and ciders.
There is also a 5km fun run and jog in Shouldham Warren, starting at 10.30am on Sunday. Entrance is £5 for walkers, £7 for joggers and £10 for families, with proceeds going to SOKA.
Mr Harriss said the campaign 'will succeed or fail depending on how many people buy shares in the pub'.
He added: 'There is still much to do and we would like as many people as possible to join in.'
Villagers have already formed Shouldham Community Enterprises Ltd with a view to buying the pub.