The Old Forge Community Benefit Society Ltd has raised over £45,000 in less than a day for its buyout of The Old Forge pub – blasting through its £40,000 target in 7 hours and 38 minutes – after launching its Crowdfunder at the end of last week (18 November).
The new Crowdfunder had set the target of £40,000 to be raised in 30 days. As well as securing the buyout the funds are to be used for upgrades to the bar area once the pub has been secured by the community. A stretch target of £60,000 is now in place and today, less than a week later, over £56,000 has been raised.
The Old Forge was put up for sale in January and local residents came together to discuss the possibility of a community buyout, and return the pub to being a hub within the community once more.
The Society began fundraising in the summer, securing vital capital through a community share offer and successful applications to the Scottish Land Fund and the Community Ownership Fund. Isla Miller, management committee member, says “The crowdfund campaign is the last piece of the puzzle in our complex fundraising strategy. With the majority of the capital that we need now secured, we were able to crunch the numbers to work out our shortfall, and that’s where crowdfunding comes in to play.”
One of the top rewards in the Crowdfunder offers supporters the chance to have their name engraved in the custom new bar-top which will be made from local timber and constructed by local craftsmakers. Other rewards include discount loyalty cards, special edition merchandise and virtual pub nights where punters tune in live to the Forge bar.
“We spent a long time coming up with a range of rewards to suit every taste and budget” said Jackie Robertson part of the team working on the Crowdfunder and who hopes many will get on board. “Originally, we thought we would need to Crowdfund for half the money needed to buy the Old Forge which was such a daunting prospect, but we have been really lucky to be successful in our grant applications and the community share offer. With money in the bank already we need this last part for us to be able to carry out the work needed to make the building last for future generations.”
With the majority of funds secured the Society is now in the process of submitting a formal offer to the seller. If successful, the Community Benefit Society structure ensures that locals and supporters will be in control of the pub’s future, and the businesses operations are defined with community benefit at the forefront. Profits are reinvested back in to the business and other local projects, not distributed amongst shareholder members.
The crowdfund can be viewed here: www.crowdfunder.co.uk/the-old-forge-knoydart