A GROUP of South East Cornwall residents have launched a bid to save their pub in time for Christmas.
Polbathic residents are aiming to have one of the first community-owned pubs in Cornwall, with villagers encouraged to buy shares in a scheme to purchase The Halfway House Inn.
Owners PubFolio went into administration recently and villagers are encouraging locals to buy shares in the scheme.
Money is raised by people joining and becoming a co-owner of the Polbathic Community Pub group by paying £250 – and residents are aiming to raise at least £145,000 by Christmas Eve. The group has raised £50,000 so far.
Organisers hope to raise sufficient money to purchase the freehold of the pub and to carry out refurbishments and improvements.
Vez Sullivan, of Polbathic and a member of the pub group, said: "A well-run pub can put the heart back into the community.
"We hope to encourage the widest possible membership, who will be able to say that they saved and co-own The Halfway House, a pub believed to be the first community-owned pub in Cornwall.
"This is a one-time opportunity to save a vital community asset for our small village and the surrounding areas, and now really is the time for action.
"We have been delighted with the initial response – we have even had local tradespeople offering to volunteer to help us to refurbish the pub."
The pub is still trading and the community group is working very closely with the present tenants to realise the shared dream of securing the future of the pub.
The historic pub in the small village near Torpoint dates back to the mid-19th century and is run by tenants Wendy Naylor and Kevin Rix.
The residents aim to sell local ales and be a focus for community events, celebrations, social and cultural activities.
There has been a near 25 per cent increase in UK co-operative enterprises since 2009, according to The Co-operative Enterprise Hub.
Michael Fairclough, The Co-operative Group's head of Community and Co-operative Investment, which assisted the community group through its Co-operative Enterprise Hub, said: "By working together people can be powerful catalysts for change, capable of overcoming many of the challenges facing society, the environment and economy. Co-operation can be key to bringing about the changes that people want to see in their communities."
Shares in The Halfway House cost £1 each with a minimum investment of £250 up to a maximum of £20,000.
A tenant would be appointed to run the pub and organisers hope to pay a return in the region of 2.5 per cent to investors who may also qualify for the Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS).
For further information, go to www.polbathiccommunitypub.co.uk