top of page
  • Who can buy shares?
    Anyone over the age of 16. They can live in the UK or abroad. It is also possible for corporate entities to buy a shareholding which may be interesting for some investors. Corporate investors should check their articles of association to ensure they can purchase shares.
  • What is the minimum and maximum shareholding?
    The minimum is one share which is £250 (a group of individuals may buy one or more shares between them but it would have to be registered in one person’s name) and the maximum is 100 shares or £25,000. A couple can buy up to £25,000 shares each.
  • Can the current owners of The Bell reject our offer?
    Yes the current owners can reject the offer so it has to be acceptable for both parties.
  • Are the shares inheritable?
    Yes, they are and if a shareholder dies they will form part of their estate.
  • Can I sell my shares?
    No. They can only be redeemed at the agreement of the Management Committee. The plan is to build up some liquidity from profits, further share offerings and or borrowing if necessary allowing a limited number of shares to be redeemed each year. You can gift them to someone else but this has to also be done via the Community Benefit Society.
  • Do I get a return on my shares?
    The main purpose of the share issue is to raise funds to secure the long-term future of the pub for this and future generations. The face value of the shares will not rise. If you subscribe for e.g. £1,000 they will remain at this value forever. If the pub was sold in the future for a profit this will not directly benefit shareholders and has to be used to benefit the community. It is possible for the Community Benefit Society to make interest payments to shareholders. Current thinking is that after a couple of years the shareholders would receive an interest payment of circa 3% per annum.
  • Do shareholders get any perks?
    No, the shareholders do not get any benefits from the pub itself. The plan is to have a tenant run the pub and the commercial business will be their decsion. The committee may encourage them to have a loyalty scheme but this would need to be discussed and agreed.
  • Can the Community Benefit Society (“CBS”) accept funds that are not raised from the share issue?
    Yes, the CBS can raise funds in other ways, for example from grants, donations or fund-raising events all of which can benefit the society. The CBS can also borrow money from a bank.
  • What control would the Community Benefit Society have on running the pub with a Tenant?
    Terms and Conditions can be included in the Tenancy Agreement e.g. relating to the proportion of suppliers form the local area or opening times etc. But the Terms and Conditions mustn’t be so restrictive that the tenant’s hands are tied so they cannot run the business at an acceptable level of profit. There should also be regular reviews stipulated within the Tenancy Agreement where various issues, ideas etc. can be discussed between the Tenant and the CBS. It is also possible to include a trial period within the Tenancy Agreement.
  • Who choses the tenant?
    A Sub-committee will be formed by the Community Benefit Society to advertise for, interview and negotiate a lease with a suitable Tenant. The Sub-committee will have the required experience and knowledge to perform this role.
  • Have you had any interest in the Tenancy?
    We have had some expressions of interest from local parties but nothing firm at this stage. We would want to run a proper process to select the Tenant which would include advertising the Tenancy in suitable national publications or websites.
  • What happens if a Tenant cannot be found in a suitable time frame?
    The ideal situation would be to find a tenant from the outset. If this was not possible, the Community Benefit Society could open and run the pub themselves. This is what has been done as an interim measure at the Brewers Arms Community Pub in West Malvern with the community volunteering to carry out all roles. The Working Group has had several offers of help from experienced publicans.
  • If the community run the pub do they need a licence?
    Yes, we would need a licence. We don’t perceive this to be a problem and there are several people the Working Group knows who already hold a licence that would be happy to help with this for a short period whilst a Tenant is located.
  • Are we talking to other groups who have done a similar thing?
    Yes, we are connected to a few groups but predominantly the Brewers Arms in West Malvern who have been very helpful. A number of the Working Group members have attended one of their public meetings to gain a greater insight into the process.
  • If the pub fails will the shareholder invesment be repaid?
    Firstly only 1 out of the 160 community pubs in the UK to date has failed. Experience with other buyouts show that it is the Tenancies that fail, not the pub. Sometimes this will be because the Tenant has an unrealistic business plan. Alternatively, of course, it can be the CBS having unreasonable demands. The Community Benefit Society should always have the flexibility to prevent Tenant failures e.g. by regular dialogue and review. Nevertheless, it does have to be accepted that Tenancy failures can and do happen. If the overall organisation fails then the safeguard for investors is the property itself but it could be the case even if the pub was sold that shareholders receive back less than they invested and there is no guarantee that shareholders receive their funds back in full.
  • Has a Valuation been carried out?
    Yes, a valuation was carried out by MJD Hughes limited and their report was received by the Working Group at the end of February 2023.
  • What price will be paid for the pub?
    We don’t know yet. At the current stage we are trying to gauge if the Community Benefit Society can raise sufficient funds. This is why we are asking for people to pledge a sum they could invest. Once this process has been carried out and if the CBS is confident they can raise the required funds an offer / negotiation can proceed with the current owners.
  • Will all funds raised be used to purchase the pub?
    It is likely that the Community Benefit Society will need to raise funds in excess of the purchase price. There will be other costs such as conveyancing and any remedial works to the building itself.
  • What about ongoing maintenance costs?
    There will always be other areas of expenditure on the building. This can be paid for via the initial share issue, ongoing fund raising though events and donations or through grants from third parties. The Community Benefit Society will also have an income from the tenant (the rent)
  • Will the Community Benefit Society look to extend the pub to provide more dining / community space?
    This may be something to look at as a Phase 2. The pub could certainly do with more dining space and this would only make it more attractive to tenants and give more options for community use. The priority is to secure the pub as it is and get it back open.
  • Who makes the decisions about the Community Benefit Society now and in the future?
    The Community Benefit Society will include a decision-making Committee, initially comprised of a sub-set of the current Working Group and possibly some additional volunteers with suitable skills and experience. All Committee Members must resign and may stand for re-election at the first Annual General Meeting (AGM). A full set of Rules governing the activities of the Community Benefit Society will be published in due course.
  • Do Committee Members get paid or have any benefits?
    The Committee roles are not paid and the individuals will receive no benefit. All roles are on a volunteer basis although the committee can employ third parties if required. Under the CBS structure no one can personally gain.
  • What other information will be issued to help potential shareholders make up their minds?
    The Rules of the Community Benefit Society will be published. These will help people understand the corporate governance side of the organisation. Once finalised these will be published on the website. Before any Share Offer takes place a share prospectus will also be published which will contain all of the details and rules about the Share Offer.
  • If I make a pledge do I have to invest?
    No, at this stage a pledge is just an indication of how much you might be willing to invest. The committee is trying to gauge how much it can realistically raise. By making a pledge you are not committing to investment but please try and make the pledge as realistic as possible.
  • Will any Share Offer be regulated?
    A Community Benefit Society Share Offer is exempt from the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 or subsidiary regulations; this means you have no right of complaint to an Ombudsman. A Community Benefit Society is registered with, but not authorised by, the Financial Conduct Authority and therefore the money you pay for your shares is not safeguarded by any depositor protection scheme or dispute resolution scheme. As the whole of your investment could carry a risk, please consider it carefully.
bottom of page