Community Share Issues – lessons from The Boot

Community Share Issues
The Boot Inn, Orleton
29th October 2019

Following the successful acquisition, refurbishment and reopening of the Boot Inn in August this year, Hereford Centre for Community Led Housing (HCCLH) arranged an update meeting so that two of the key people on the project could share their experiences in the successful fund raising. Three HCLT board members – Jeff, Andy and Huw were at the meeting.

The Project
The Boot is the pub in the centre of the small village of Orleton (population c 800) which lies equidistant between Leominster and Ludlow. A formerly thriving pub which was at the heart of the community, the Boot was closed in 2017 following the appointment of liquidator. A Community Benefit Society was set up in February 2018 to acquire the building and, after refurbishment, return the pub to the community.
Including fees, expenses and contingency costs, the total project was costed at £450,000 which was raised through grants, loans and a share issue.

Share Issue
Issuing shares was seen as the cornerstone of the funding strategy as it was a way of increasing the connection with the community in Orleton and beyond as well as providing long term capital. A target of £300,000 was set, and, despite a tight deadline, £345,000 was raised which provided the bulk of the costs of the project. Although the shares are non-tradeable, they are under certain circumstances, interest bearing and can be redeemed.
See Business Plan and Prospectus.

Lessons for HCLT

• The Community Benefit Society, which is used by both HCLT and The Boot, is a model that is flexible as well as providing the necessary asset lock protection -meaning that the benefits of the property remain in the community
• Large sums of money can be raised via share issues in a relatively short period of time
• The Boot is a good pub – serving excellent food, beer and wines