Villagers and other supporters are battling to save the last remaining pub in Stonesfield, near Woodstock
So far campaigners have raised over £272,000 through selling shares to 303 people, but their target is £480,000 and they are appealing for more support now that the share offer has been extended until December 31.
The pub, which is in private ownership, has been closed since March and up for sale since July. Villagers have until January 7 to put a bid together to save it, or it could be acquired by developers and another pub would be lost forever.
From as little as £50, you can become shareholders in a pub with a beautiful rural setting, popular with walkers, cyclists, and people seeking to experience a traditional, warm atmosphere. The community share sale forms part of a robust business plan that the Stonesfield Community Pub management committee has proposed, based on a community survey carried out in August.
Steve Callahan, Chair of the Steering Committee, said: “A lot of hard work and countless hours have gone into preparing this community share offer, and the plan for the pub that sits behind it. We’ve achieved the share standard mark, which is a significant accolade, indicating that our proposal meets the standards of good practice. We’re confident that we can raise the funds to reinvent the White Horse as more than just a pub.
“Stonesfield is a wonderful community with so many things going for it. The village pub brings us together and creates a real sense of community that isn’t possible without it. We just couldn’t see the last pub in Stonesfield sold for development without giving our friends and neighbours the chance to keep it open. Our #backthewhitehorse campaign offers the opportunity to invest as much as you want to save the White Horse for generations to come.”
The campaigning group has already taken advice and inspiration from Oxfordshire’s thriving network of community-owned pubs, including the most recent pub to go down this route, the White House in nearby Bladon, which re-opened in October and was thriving before the latest lockdown.
It is planning to recruit a tenant to run not only a pub but a building which will also provide a daytime cafe, drop-in workspace, cycling/walking facilities and a takeaway. The business plan has been approved by charity the Plunkett Foundation’s More than a Pubscheme, which has supported over 100 communities across the UK in efforts to save their local pub.
Another villager, Susan Rudlin, explained: “We’ve spoken to most of the local community-owned pubs to understand how they went about things, what worked and what didn’t, and we’ve modelled our documentation around those that have achieved the share standard mark. We’ve been actively following the progress of the White House at Bladon and talked to them before we even dipped our toes in.”
To find out more and buy shares, visit: