Background: Community Shares Wales was approached by Sam Dabb in November 2016 who was the manager of Le Pub in Newport, an established live music venue which had been operating for over 25 years hosting many famous bands over its life.
Need: The building in which they had always operated from had been put on the market which encouraged a group of like-minded individuals and regular customers of Le Pub to look at how they could save their much loved venue and pub.
For many years the group had recognised the constraints of their existing building to enable it to grow and deliver the service it wanted such as poor accessibility, split levels and town centre developments moving to the other side of town, and therefore decided to look at taking the concept of Le Pub to a more accessible centralised location and develop its arts and cultural capacity.
CSW Support: In December 2016 the CSW team met with the founder members of Le Public Space and advised on the co-operative society model and the option of saving the pub through a community share offer.
The CSW team organised a study visit to the Bell Inn in Bath where 8 directors from the Bell Inn provided a presentation and talked about their journey of managing the pub as a community benefit society and raising community shares. The group brought 10 committee members to the event and took a lot away in terms of looking at its wider community use and benefit, shareholder engagement, management of share withdrawals etc.
The CSW team also provided governance and community shares training to the 10 directors and supported them in developing their business plan. On completion of the governance training the group decided they wanted to develop a community benefit society and develop a share offer to encourage their community and customers to become co-owners in their community venture.
The CSW team assisted Le Public Space to incorporate as a Community Benefit Society, and assisted the Directors to develop all aspects of the share offer – such as the business plan, financial modelling, share offer document, obtaining the Community Shares Standard Mark, and applying for advanced assurance for Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme tax relief. CSW also assisted the committee to run an investor Q&A, helping to answer the more technical questions around community shares.
Outcomes: :Le Public Space closed their share offer at the end of October 2017 having raised £48,000, engaged with 75 volunteers, employed 4 FT staff and 6 PT staff. The group also attracted £6,000 support from Newport CBC to contribute towards their first 6 months rental costs.
Testimonial: Sam Dabb, manager of Le Public Space said: ‘CSW gave us a good grounding and understanding of how to pull our project together and run a share offer, and gave us the confidence to proceed, through having the back up of someone being there to answer questions all the time rather than just during a monthly meeting.
Their support gave us clarity with the process and what needed to be done at each stage, with examples and templates etc. Getting set up and going through our Rules would have been difficult without your support, as the information was very technical and we had no previous experience of these things.
Taking CSW out of the equation it would have been very difficult. Without your guidance we wouldn’t have done a share offer and this project couldn’t have happened.’
Contact Point: http://lepublicspace.co.uk/