Important news about The George!

We are aware that many are waiting patiently for news about our plans to buy The George and turn it into a community hub for the village. So, here it is!

Our updated business plan is now complete and available to view here. There is also a hard copy available (but not to take away, please!) at Newnham Community Library in Dean Rd.

The committee has worked hard to update the business plan in the face of the pandemic and changes in the village. We believe our new plan is robust and will enable The George to become a financially self-sustaining business, providing much benefit to the village and wider area.

New funding opportunities

Over the last couple of months we have also been busy trying to secure the funding we need to buy the building.

The government’s Community Ownership Fund (COF) finally launched on 15 July this year, offering groups like ours the possibility of buying empty or derelict buildings and putting them back to use. Our bid for match-funding was submitted by the deadline of 13 August . If we are successful, we will be able to make a realistic offer to buy The George, refurbish it and set up the business as outlined in our plan. We should hear the outcome of our bid by mid-October.

We also have a back-up plan, in the form of a leaseback scheme through a public sector body. This is still very much in discussion and negotiations are ongoing. Clarity will come in mid-October. If we fail to get funding from the COF, we shall go back to our members to ask them if leaseback is an option they want to pursue. Owning the building ourselves has benefits, but it is not without risk, and a long-term leasehold arrangement could work well for us. If we can’t raise enough money to buy the building ourselves and we still want the project to go ahead, this may be a viable alternative option.

So, watch this space for a further update in October – and keep all fingers and toes crossed in the meantime!!

Any comments are very welcome. Please do not hesitate to contact a member of the committee to ask questions, challenge anything, voice your concerns or just catch up after this long period of quiet!

We are always glad to have new members and supporters. To buy shares or find out more about the project, please get in touch with our secretary at paulmanning54@gmail.com, or phone (01594) 516259.