Purchase of the George brings new hope

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You may have noticed that work to tidy up and make secure the site of the Grade 11 listed George Pub has begun. The George Community Pub (Wickham Market) Ltd and its 321 members are now the official owners and are actively seeking a conclusion to the long awaited work to restore the building.
The group have already applied for a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund and should know the result of their application sometime later in October.

All being well the start of the development will be November 2018. The planning phase will take approximately 12 months with the second phase of restoration and construction estimated for completion in 2021.

The site has been a blot on the Wickham Market landscape for over 5 years and the group’s aim is to return this important building back to its former use as a community pub whilst saving an important heritage asset for the benefit of the village.

If you would like to become a shareholder and member of this exciting project please look at our website for details of how to apply:  www.wmgeorge.co.uk

Management Committee initiates option to buy the George.

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On the 30 July the George Management Committee initiated our option to buy the George Pub from the current owner. The date for completion has now been fixed as the 12th September ’18 when all shareholders (members) will become owners of the George and this exciting community project. The sale of shares is ongoing and if haven’t already invested and want to become part of the team you can download an application form by clicking here.

Shortly following the purchase of the pub you will start to see some onsite changes as the tidy up process begins and safety hoardings are erected around the site perimeter.

After putting up with the gradual deterioration of the building over the past five years this work will confirm our ownership and send a positive message to the Wickham Market community that things really are starting to happen with the site.

It’s official – we’re on our way!

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The threshold of £100k which enables us to purchase the pub has now been reached and we are well on our way to achieve the £300k target. In ten weeks £120k has been raised from 277 investors, a wonderful result.

It’s a big milestone and to all those who have invested in shares many thanks for your generous support. In the next few days we will be exercising the Option-to-Buy, so that in about a month’s time the community will be the new owners of The George and influential in its future

This doesn’t mean that we have closed the share issue so if you would like to invest further, or take your first step into share ownership and participate in the project you will be most welcome.

You can also help us spread the word, if you know of anyone else who may be interested in purchasing shares all the information and application forms are available online at www.wmgeorge.co.uk

Ownership will provide the necessary support in our bid for Heritage Lottery funding and will be seen by other grant providers as a very positive action.

The first visible sign you will see that the purchase is complete is replacement of the metal Heras boundary fencing with wooden hoarding.  We will keep you posted with further information on progress.

Thank you all for such a great effort

SAVING THE GEORGE – NOW OR NEVER

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The Share Offer remains open but the decision to buy the pub or abandon the project must be made no later than 27th July.

We are now less than £10k away from crossing the line and being able to proceed.

If you wish to invest or raise the level of your application to help take us over the line then please do so soon, 28th July is too late

For more information on current position see below.

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Position Statement

The current situation and decision on the future of the George is determined by the Funding strategy.

You will see from the Share Offer Prospectus that the income for purchase, rebuild and associated costs is ‘largely derived from share income and grants’.

The principal grant income is identified as an award by the Heritage Lottery Fund.  We submitted an application for £998,000 to meet their deadline of 25th May and we have been informed the result will be known by the end of September.

For the application to be eligible we need to own the pub and have commenced execution of the Option to Buy in July.  Completion of the purchase will then take a maximum of 28 working days, but could be much less.

The gap between the funds required and HLF grant will be met by Community Shares and other grants   Potential other grants have been identified and are included in the HLF application.

Regarding Community Shares we targeted £300,000 as this is typical for other Community Pubs. However in the Share Offer Prospectus you will see that we set a minimum of £100,000. On reaching that amount we will issue shares to all applicants and continue with the project including further share sales.  The gap between what we raise in shares and the £300,000 is intended to be covered from other funding sources.  On reaching £100,000 of share investment we will be eligible to apply to the Share Booster Fund for a matching share purchase which could, if successful, double that share investment.

Because of the HLF grant application our decision day is 27th July and it can go one of two ways.  If we have received monies for applications amounting to £100,000 or above we will proceed with the Option to Buy, and if the minimum hasn’t been met we will have to close down the project and the future of the site will be a matter for the owner and SCDC.  In the latter situation all monies from share applicants will be returned to them.

As of today (13th July) we have received 262 share applications and are now 90% there and within £10,000 of the minimum required to proceed.

If you wish to invest or raise the level of your application to help take us over the line then please do so soon, 28th July is too late.

For further information, including risk factors, please see the Share Offer Prospectus which can be found by clicking here.

IMPORTANT SHARE INFORMATION

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IMPORTANT SHARE INFORMATION
We are pleased to inform you that we are now over halfway to reaching our minimum share target of £100,000. Share applications are coming in steadily on a daily basis, but the deadline of 23rd June is fast approaching. We know that many more supporters are planning to invest but haven’t yet got round to it.  PLEASE DO SO NOW.

Our village survey indicated massive demand for a community pub in Wickham and many people have supported our meetings and events. We do not want to abandon the project through lack of financial support and so appeal for your help in getting us over the line.  As soon as we reach the minimum share target we will buy the pub.

If you have already applied for shares then very many thanks.  You will be able to visit the George as an owner, enjoy your drink in the bar, a meal in the restaurant, and enjoy our community room and know that you helped make it happen.  Please share this vision with family and friends. The minimum target of £100,000 will enable us to buy the pub and move onto the next stage. The more we get above that, the easier our journey will be, so thank you for your support.

The Share Offer document can be found here and an application form here

The George Management Committee

Share launch event – 12th May

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 SHARE LAUNCH

SATURDAY 12 MAY 2018 on the Hill.

Please join us for 20 minutes at midday, Saturday 12 May on the Market Hill where we will be having a big share launch photograph.

If we are to achieve our aim of restoring the Pub we need to show as much support as possible. This is an opportunity to show everyone that we care about our village and that if no one else can take responsibility for the building, then we will!

See you on the Hill on the 12th May at Midday. There’s a free drinks voucher for everyone that joins us (redeemable when the pub opens).

By selling shares we are raising funds to buy and restore the old George pub. Every Wickham Market household will receive a share offer document and application form to buy shares. Please consider investing in the George and by doing so you will be part owner of a fantastic community owned facility.

Shares will be available to purchase for 6 weeks after the launch on 12 May.

The prospectus and application form will also soon be available for download on the web site.

George architects help win £653,000 Heritage Lottery grant for Harwich Electric Cinema

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It has been announced in the EADT that Nicholas Jacob Architects, who have prepared the conceptual designs for the new George based on our community’s hopes and needs, and are currently assisting us with our HLF Heritage Enterprise grant application, have also helped the Harwich Electric Palace Cinema to apply for and be awarded the funds enabling the cinema trust to undertake essential conservation work to secure this unique part of Harwich’s heritage for the future. Our Quantity Surveyors, the Daniel Connal Partnership, are also part of the Harwich project team.

Congratulations to NJA, DCP and to the Electric Palace!

To see what NJA architect Shaun Soanes has to say about The George click here

Share Offer Document and Business Plan win national Standard Mark recognition

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One of the reasons why the share offer has been unavoidably delayed has been that Committee members Bill, Colin, George, Mike and Tony have been hard at work, preparing, submitting and revising the documents for independent assessment for the Community Shares Standard Mark. They have been assisted in this by Helen Melia, a business adviser specialising in community finance, who helps share offers like ours on behalf of The Plunkett Foundation. Helen’s invaluable input was funded by Co-Operatives UK’s ‘The Hive’ scheme.

We are happy and proud to announce that we have now been awarded the Standard Mark. This is great news for our Share Offer, as the Mark assessment acts as a final check on the quality of a community share offer before its public launch. It means that our supporters can have confidence that the share offer will be well-regulated and supported by a viable business plan. Societies awarded the Mark are required to sign up to a code of practice, which includes agreeing to an open member and public complaints procedure.

More excitingly, the Mark opens the pathway to funding, provided via the Community Shares Unit’s Booster Scheme, which could match our members’ investments for the Society (up to, potentially, a sum of £100,000) and to promotion by the Unit of the issue.

Our Standard Mark Assessor has commented, “Congratulations for achieving the Mark and I just want to give you my very best wishes for a successful share offer – I shall follow its progress with interest and hopefully it will not be too long before your community owns The George!”