How is the project being funded?
The amazing news that we have been awarded £988,200 from The National lottery Heritage Fund brings the opening of The George within reach. We can now plan to spend what we forecast to be approximately £1.445m in rebuilding and restoring the pub.
With nearly 70% of the funding secured through this fantastic award we have a remaining balance of just over £450,000 to find. We already have over £110,000 of this in the bank or in grants and other funding promises, so the balance required is approximately £340,000.
The main sources of this remaining funding will come from Community Shares.
In May 2018 the Society launched a share issue to raise funds to buy the pub. It was highly successful and there are now currently £129,150 of shares held by 329 members. This was not only a major source of funds but highlighted the strength of support for the project – in Wickham Market and beyond.
In order to demonstrate continuing support to ourselves and The National lottery Heritage Fund, we asked in early 2021 for the public to send in share pledges. The response was even more impressive with over £240,000 pledged and more than 100 of the pledges were from non-shareholders. That means that there are now over 430 supporters who have shares or have pledged to subscribe for shares.
On 24th February 2022 we launched our second Community Share offer with the aim of raising at least £290,000. To that will be added £50,000 in equity matched funding, awarded to us in January by the Architectural Heritage Fund, supported by the Community Share Booster Programme. We will match this Booster investment to investments from residents of Wickham Market. The Share Offer is open to all to subscribe – existing shareholders, pledge givers and anyone else who wants to be part of this great project.
That should cover the full funding gap but to be sure we will continue to raise funds from other sources.
Grants were originally expected to make up the bulk of the funding. However, during the pandemic many grant opportunities have been closed, with funds understandably diverted to medical charities or areas of hardship. However, the prospects for us are now improving and we are approaching grant givers with some optimism.
The National Lottery Heritage Fund has long been considered essential to the success of the Project and whilst there can be no guarantee that all other grant applications will be successful, achieving the £988,200 award will no doubt increase our chances
As well as the obvious heritage appeal to potential funders, we are also promoting the Covid-recovery benefits of the Community pub. This will be evident with many activities planned during construction and when in operation, so some grants believed closed may be available. This is confirmed by support received from Wellbeing Suffolk where they state ‘We are all very aware of the impact that Covid 19 has, and will have, on our communities. Having something like the George will allow us, and other organisations, the opportunity to work with communities to rebuild, strengthen and heal’.
In total other grants are planned to account for £48,000 and to date we have secured just over £16,000 of this total.
During the rebuilding of The George, we will be actively seeking sponsorship from commercial organisations or individuals who recognise the benefits, considering the scale of the project and the expected publicity, in an association with The George and Wickham Market. We have set the target low and have already had some success in this area.
If you would like to discuss sponsorship opportunities (direct funding or sponsorship ‘in kind’) then please contact us
Income is welcome from all sources, including generous individual donations already received, but particularly, and most enjoyably for the whole community, from Community Fundraising Activities. Pre-pandemic a series of very successful fundraising events were held and we are now revitalising the social and fundraising programme. Keep an eye on our blog and events page for more information.