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Community Pub Initiative

Ashendon Parish Council Community Pub Initiative

ASHENDON UNITES TO SAVE ITS CHERISHED PUB

We Submitted the Government Community Ownership Grant Application on January 30th
Thank you to the Grant and Business Plan teams and to everyone for their input, including the community research – your survey and focus group insights featured heavily in the content. 

Next Steps
We expect to have news about the grant by April 30th, at which point if we are successful, we will publish a share offer in May/June.
In the meantime, we will continue to accept pledges and keep everyone posted on our progress with other efforts that form part of this initiative.

WE CONTUNUE TO WELCOME YOUR PLEDGES 

PLEDGE TARGET: £250,000  

CURRENT PLEDGE TOTAL: £165,500

We are delighted to have reached this milestone. Can you help us reach our target of £250.000 and save the pub as a community hub for Ashendon and surrounding villages to enjoy for generations to come?

Thank you to all our residents who joined us for a lively pop-up pub and the Community Pub village meeting on Oct 27th. Here is a link to the video recording: https://www.facebook.com/1714865641/videos/1547362162681939/
At this meeting, we launched our invitation to pledge your intention to buy shares to become a proud co-owner of our pub as a community asset. The success of the government grant hinges on our ability to show a genuine willingness in Ashendon and surrounding villages to contribute sufficient funds for success.

Where Do I Find 'How to Pledge' Information?

You can find a digital copy of a pledge letter, pledge form, meeting slides, and FAQs below. If you have any trouble downloading them, please contact us on the info below and we can email them to you. 

I do not live in Ashendon but would like to hear about how I can help save the pub.

We warmly welcome support from our neighbouring villages and beyond. Feel free to use the documents above or contact Sue Maldonado for a chat.

My business would like to invest in this local community initiative.

We warmly welcome support from businesses. Feel free to use the documents above or contact us for a chat.

CONTACT

For enquiries, volunteering opportunities, or to pledge your financial support,  
contact Sue Maldonado at semaldonado99@gmail.com
 

SUPPORT US BY FOLLOWING THE 'ASHENDON COMMUNITY PUB' FACEBOOK PAGE. 
Follow Us Here: https://www.facebook.com/AshendonCommunityPub
The number of Facebook follows serves as important evidence of community support for our grant applications. Please like and share our posts. 


PREVIOUS UPDATES
Ashendon Unites for a Community Pub Initiative

Update January 20th, 2024

Happy New Year! This month, we reach another milestone on our journey to rescue Ashendon’s cherished pub.

We’re Submitting the Government Grant Application on January 30th
We have completed preparations for the Government’s ‘Community Ownership’ grant application. Thank you to the Grant and Business Plan team and to everyone for their input, including the community research – your survey insights have featured heavily in the content. We are also applying for smaller grants.

Total Pledges are at £165,500. While this is an impressive sum in a short time, we still fall short of our target by £84,500. NOW is the critical time to pledge if you have not yet done so but would still like to help save the pub. Even small pledges add up and serve as important evidence of the number of supporters of the project.

Urgent Proof of Community Support is Needed 
We need to provide evidence of local community support for the grant application. 
Visit www.ashendonparish.org.uk and select ‘Community Pub Initiative’. This page is always current with our progress for your information, and your visit will add to our metrics of page visitor numbers.
Follow Us on Our Pub Facebook Page – Search on Facebook for Ashendon Community Pub’. The volume of follows, shares, comments and likes serves as further evidence of support. Thank you for your amazing page shares so far; we have reached 600+ followers. Our target is 1,000 so, please continue to engage with us and encourage your local friends and family members to follow too.

This is our one opportunity to preserve this historic pub for the long term and ensure there is a social hub that connects our villages and includes our residents. There is an enormous amount of work going on behind the scenes to drive this community initiative forward. Please show your support where you can.

What’s Next?
We expect to have news about the grant by April 30th, at which point if we are successful, we will publish a share offer in May/June. In the meantime, we will continue to accept pledges and keep everyone posted on our progress with other efforts that form part of this initiative.

Update November 19, 2023

We are thrilled to share some key developments as we approach a critical phase on our journey to rescue our community pub.

We have Extended the Pledge Campaign to Neighbouring Villages. These include Dorton, Chilton, Westcott, Wotton Underwood, Upper Winchendon, and Nether Winchendon. If you have friends beyond these villages who you know loved The Hundred, feel free to extend your own invitation to pledge and direct them to the website.

We have extended the Pledge Campaign to Local Businesses – at Westcott Venture Park and Dorton Brook Farm Business Units. If you would like to extend an invitation to other businesses that you believe may have an interest in supporting their local community, we would be delighted.

Preparations for the Community Grant Application are in Final Stages – The Grant Application Team has been diligently preparing the Community Grant Application, which is being finalised and reviewed by our partners at The Plunkett Foundation. Submission will occur during December/January.

Support our Initiative! – For volunteering enquiries or for other questions about pledging your financial support, contact Sue Maldonado at semaldonado99@gmail.com 

Follow Us on Our new Facebook Page – Search for Ashendon Community Pub’. As well as keeping you up to date, the number of followers we achieve serves as evidence of community support, which bolsters our grant application.

We are delighted with the continued community support for our pub initiative. We are also most grateful for the efforts of our volunteers. Together, we can make a positive difference for all our local community residents for generations to come.


Update September 26, 2023

As we continue our journey to save our community pub, we are pleased to share some important updates with you.

Pub valuation and schedule of works are complete - An independent valuation of the pub has been conducted by The Plunkett Foundation, along with the drafting of a schedule of works. While this information is sensitive, we are working towards a resolution that benefits our community.

Community grant application preparations are underway - The Grant Application Team is diligently preparing the Community Grant Application, which will now take place during December and January. Your support and ideas are invaluable in this process.

Financial pledges have begun - We are pleased to announce that financial pledges have started coming in. Soon, we will extend a formal invitation to pledge. Your generous contributions will help make our vision a reality.

Join our fundraising and digital marketing teams - Our Fundraising Team is seeking additional members with fundraising experience. If you can contribute in this area, please join us. 

Positive community research results - Our community survey and focus groups have concluded with positive results supporting our project. This research has also provided valuable insights into creating a village vision for the pub's offerings.

We have extended the survey to neighbouring villages - We have expanded our survey to include our neighbouring villages of Dorton, Chilton, Westcott, Wotton Underwood, Upper Winchendon, and Nether Winchendon. Please look out for the survey via email or find it here: https://forms.gle/9d5c1FxScTo26fKMA

Coming soon - A Community Benefit Society - We are in the process of setting up a Community Benefit Society with the Financial Conduct Authority, with founding members leading the way. 

We are Scheduling a Community Update Meeting - A community update meeting is planned for October. 

We are delighted with the continued community support for our pub initiative. We are also most grateful for the efforts of our volunteers. Together, we can make a positive difference for all our local community residents.

Update August 21st, 2023

A Step Forward on Our Journey

We are delighted to report that the momentum behind the Community Pub Initiative remains strong, driven by the support of our community and dedicated efforts for the Steering Committee volunteers. Here are the latest developments that bring us closer to our goal:

Community Ownership Fund (Stage 1) Has Been Approved:  We are thrilled that The Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities has passed our expression of interest grant application. This achievement moves us to our next goal - preparing the main grant application.

We Have Collected Rich Insights from Qualitative Community Research: Sentiment gathered through several focus group conversations indicates sadness and a feeling of disconnection at the loss of the pub and strong enthusiasm for reopening the pub with a community-led vision. Thank you to our participants for sharing their experiences, opinions, and ideas. 

The Main Survey for Ashendon & The Pollicotts Households is Close to Completion: This quantitative community research will furnish us with further evidence of support for the project, indication of willingness to contribute, and a wealth of community insights on experiences, needs and wants that will form the bedrock of the business plan, grant application and the vision for our valued community pub. 

We Continue to Draw Wisdom from Local Community Pubs: We have been supported by fellow community pub initiatives willing to share their experiences, including The George and Dragon in Quainton, The Chandos in Oakley, and The Abingdon Arms in Beckley. We extend our thanks to those who have offered their advice and inspiration and send our best wishes for their succes

 
Update: July 27th 2023 

The Story So Far 

The journey began with an informal village meeting, called at short notice following the village coronation celebrations. From this meeting, a dedicated steering group was formed. The steering group initiated a mini online survey and volunteers went door-to-door to follow up, ensuring that every household had the opportunity to provide their input. There are 105 households in Ashendon and Pollicott and already we have received 95 survey responses, with an overwhelming 93% expressing support for the community pub initiative and more returns still expected. 

To gain insights and advice, the steering group connected with Oakley Village Pub, who shared their own successful journey to owning the Chandos Arms. This exchange of knowledge and experience, along with other enquiries, will prove invaluable in guiding our own community pub project. 

1.  Ashendon Parish Council and the Red Lion Social Club kindly provided seed funding to assist the steering group in their efforts. This initial injection of financial support has helped propel the initiative forward. 

  2. Committee volunteers held the first focus group: This discussion gave insights into how respondents had been impacted by the closure of the pub and what they would want to see from a community pub.   

  3. Residents continue to step forward to offer help to the steering committee with its work. The more volunteers, the better - you don’t need to join a committee, but every offer of help is gratefully received and helps to demonstrate the level of support for this initiative when we are applying for funding a significant development, our application has been accepted to join the Plunkett Foundation, a respected charity that specialises in offering support in community business planning and funding applications.  

Several Important Next Steps Lie Ahead of Us 

  1. Continuing Focus Group Meetings: The ongoing focus groups will facilitate further discussions and exploration of what our community desires from the pub. These meetings provide an excellent opportunity for everyone to contribute their ideas, reservations, and aspirations. 

  2. Detailed Survey Circulation: Soon, a more detailed survey will be circulated throughout the village. This comprehensive questionnaire aims to gather in-depth feedback and preferences from residents, ensuring that the community's voice is heard loud and clear. Residents in villages local to Ashendon will also be invited to participate. 

  3. Community Ownership Grant Application: The steering group has completed an Expression of Interest application -the first step towards a Community Ownership Grant. This financial support will be instrumental in bringing our community pub project closer to fruition.  

  4. Business Plan Creation: Concurrently, a dedicated team will be working on developing a robust business plan for the community pub. This plan will outline the proposed operations, management structure, financial projections, and other essential aspects necessary for success. 

  5. Village Meeting: A village-wide meeting will be organised to update everyone on the progress made thus far and present the business plan for the community pub. This meeting will provide an opportunity for open discussion, feedback, and collaboration. 

  6. Fundraising Initiatives: As we embark on this ambitious project, and presuming that a price is agreed with the vendor, fundraising efforts will be necessary. In addition to our efforts to apply for a grant, a significant portion of our fundraising strategy will likely involve a Community Ownership share offer. Details about this opportunity will be shared in due course, so stay tuned! 

The journey to establish an Ashendon community pub is well underway, and we are thrilled with the support so far.  

Ashendon Parish Council Community Pub Initiative
Do something today that your future self will thank you for.