Blue Bell Community Hub Project - Cocking, West Sussex

The heart of a Community at the heart of the South Downs National Park

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THE BLUE BELL COMMUNITY HUB INVESTORS NOW OWN THE BLUE BELL PUB BUT WE STILL NEED YOUR HELP

On 30th April 2019 the sale of The Blue Bell was completed with the financial support of so many Cocking residents, friends and supporters, some loans and partner grants. The Blue Bell Community Hub can now move forward, and tenders are currently out for the works required to complete the project and get the building open and serving the local community

This is a tremendous achievement and has, within the 6 months since we set out, managed to save a key asset for our community, providing a foundation that will support the area for years to come.

Blue Bell Community Hub - Cocking, West Sussex

The Management Committee have now launched The Blue Bell Community Hub Refurbishment Fund and are applying for grants that may become available now that the building has been secured, to date, we have £10,000 in the fund.

Of the £650,000 we needed to raise, £500,000 was for the purchase of the property, this has now been achieved with over 150 shareholders and donors to date.

The Blue Bell Community Hub Refurbishment Fund

The total refurbishment cost is £150,000 and the balance of this will be achieved through further Community Share sales, donations, grants, other investors and community fundraising events.

There’s a lot of hard work ahead with many villagers offering their support and assistance in the clearance, garden preparation and decoration. The main bulk of the work will be carried out by contractors and this will commence once we have the funds and the tenders in.

Blue Bell Community Hub - Cocking, West Sussex
Proposed Exterior - Blue Bell, Cocking, West Sussex

Refurbishment Plans - External

Refurbishment Plans - External

View the Blue Bell Community Hub external refurbishment plans.

Impression of new bar area - Blue Bell, Cocking, West Sussex

Refurbishment Plans - Internal

Refurbishment Plans - Internal

View the Blue Bell Community Hub internal refurbishment plans.

If you have not joined us in supporting the project through either Community Shares or a Donation, then please do. The Renovation Fund is key to make this a reality as soon as possible. Please also encourage those around you and friends and family to join in too.

Thanks for your interest.

Blue Bell Community Hub - Countdown - Issue 4 - May 2019

Issue 4 - May 2019 - Countdown Newsletter

Issue 4 - May 2019 - Countdown Newsletter

In This Issue
THE COCKING COMMUNITY OWNS ITS VILLAGE COMMUNITY HUB
POP-UP PUB @ THE BLUE BELL – Friday 17th May 6.00pm to 10.00
NAME THAT BEER
VOLUNTEERS WANTED
and more!

Our Mission

Our aim is to make the Blue Bell the Hub of the Community, a hub that will incorporate a café, pub, accommodation, visitor centre, our post office and shop.

By working together with other enterprises in the village, it will ‘breath life back into our community’ and provide the facilities and space that will serve people of all ages and background.

The Community Benefit Society (CBS) will raise funds to acquire, carry out initial works and provide the start-up working capital to create the Hub. It will employ a tenant and work with them in partnership to meet the communities needs.

The Blue Bell Community Hub will be the heart of the Community at the heart of the South Downs National Park.

Our Vision

To develop a sustainable community enterprise, that is inclusive and that delivers and contributes to a vibrant and thriving village that will also serve and involve those around us.

Latest News
Downloadable Documents
Proposal for a Community Hub - Business Plan

Proposal for a Community Hub

Business Plan

This business plan presents a proposal from the Blue Bell Community Hub Ltd (BBCHL) for the purchase and lease to a tenant of the Blue Bell Pub in Cocking as a community‐owned facility. BBCHL is a legally established Community Benefit Society that has been specifically formed to purchase the Blue Bell, develop it as a hub including the Post Office and shop, and to secure its future for the benefit of the community.

Market Appraisal Valuation

Independent Business Valuation

Independent Business Valuation

The Blue Bell Inn is a brick built Public House located in Cocking, West Sussex a village about 3 miles or so to the south of Midhurst and 10 miles to the north of Chichester. We are advised that the village has a population of about 450. Cocking is made up of privately-owned residential property together with an eleventh century church, village shop with post office, tea room, and Village Hall on the outskirts of the village.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Download the Frequently Asked Questions that was available on Friday 18th January 2019, the document contains over 50 questions. If that still doesn't answer your question then email your question to us.

Frequently Asked Questions

Lets answer a few of your questions

What is a Community Benefit Society?

A Community Benefit Society is a legal entity that is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. It is a not-for-profit organisation. They are springing up all over the country, helping to save and enhance local amenities for communities under threat from unwelcome development.

How can we make this happen?

Financial support for the Phase 2 of the project – The Blue Bell Community Hub Refurbishment Fund is critical. The total refurbishment cost is £150,000 and the balance of this will be achieved through further Community Share sales, donations, grants, other investors and community fundraising events.

Pledged v Target

Target £150,000
Pledged £10,000

What's happened so far?

The community bought the Blue Bell (we completed the purchase on 30th April) through a combination of community share, donations, local and national grants and loans. The Community Share Offer Scheme has been supported by over 92 local households to date and will remain open to all future investors and any newcomers to the village and the surrounding area.

A Community Share Offer Scheme means the motivation and payback will be more socially focused than financial. Such a scheme helps to ensure a genuinely local enterprise, accountable to the community white serving and benefiting it.

Why is this important?

For most villages a pub is a vital service. It acts as a meeting place, a communication centre and an important lynchpin of village life.Similarly, a convenience shop and post office can often be a vital lifeline. especially for those without transport, becoming an important connection with the world outside the village.

Much of the appeal of our village rests on its sense of community. It is the reason many people have moved here, remain here and wish it to remain as it is. The presence of a community hub that combines a pub, shop and post office would continue to maintain the community spirit that our village embodies. It is also the heart of the village and the heart of the South Downs National Park with its over 18 million visitors each year.

What's been achieved?

On 30th April 2019 the sale of The Blue Bell was completed with the financial support of so many Cocking residents, friends and supporters, some loans and partner grants. The Blue Bell Community Hub can now move forward, and tenders are currently out for the works required to complete the project and get the building open and serving the local community

This kind of venture has been successfully achieved in other communities all over the country, Currently, there are 85 co-operative pubs and over 300 community-owned shops, most set up with the charitable support of the Plunkett Foundation (www.plunkett.co.uk) and they have a 100% success rate.

How can I help?

Our main concern is raising enough funds to refurbish the property. If you could help through either a donation, loan or participation in our share scheme it would be much appreciated.

Others are helping with pledging their time renovating the pub, from the initial setup of the project to managing the enterprise, and, perhaps, day-to-day involvement with the practical running of the community hub.

If you wish to speak directly to someone about this project, please email info@bluebellhub.org and we will be in touch.

Why the urgency?

We want to re-open the Blue Bell as soon as humanly possible.

Our feeling is that the longer it is closed, the more the Blue Bell will deteriorate, and its reputation dwindle. Impetus will be lost, and with it, all chance of creating something special for the village and the surrounding area.

So we need to raise the £150,000 to refurbish it. This will be achieved through a combination of further Community Share sales, donations, grants, other investors and community fund raising events

Now we own it we need to refurbish it as soon as possible so we can have our very own Community Hub in Cocking.

Click here to view the Frequently Asked Questions that was available at the Public Meeting on Friday 18th January 2019, the document contains over 50 questions.

Didn't Find the Answer?

If you didn’t find an answer to your question then either email your question to info@bluebellhub.org or complete the form below:

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The Blue Bell Community Hub Refurbishment Fund has been launched for the next phase of our project.

With your help we can turn this dream into a reality