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Take a stake in The Butcher’s Arms - co-own a Cumbrian pub

6th April 2011 Print

A determined community in Cumbria has set-up a community co-operative and invited people to take a stake in their village pub to help them to save their ‘local'.

For many, the dream to own a pub remains just that, but villagers in Crosby Ravensworth - with help from The Co-operative Enterprise Hub - have launched enterprising plans to buy, renovate and re-open The Butchers Arms - a pub that closed last year.

Having had the offer to buy the pub accepted last month (March, 2011), the newly formed co-operative - Lyvenet Community Pub Ltd - has launched a prospectus to attract more than 150 members to become co-owners of the traditional Cumbrian pub.

Crosby Ravensworth has a village hall, but no shop, post office or other pub. David Graham - one of the six directors of the new co-operative, said: "Re-opening the pub will put the heart back into our village - we have had an incredible amount of interest so far, people backing our plans and investing between £250 and £20,000 to become members and have a say in the running of the pub.

"The pub - which we aim to re-open this summer - will work closely to support other community facilities and, provide additional village services - eventually selling basic supplies and local produce.

"It has been a successful business before and, we believe that the co-operative business model will give this pub a sustainable future - providing a valuable service and warm welcome to, members and customers, residents and visitors alike."

Dedicated to the creation and growth of member-owned enterprises, The Co-operative Enterprise Hub is a £7.5million investment in the co-operative sector by The Co-operative Group - the world's largest consumer co-operative with 6 million members - and, provides the advice, training and guidance communities need to set-up, run and grow sustainable co-operative enterprises. The ‘Hub' forms part of The Co-operative's radical new Ethical Plan and, its specialist advisers supported this new community co-operative with guidance on financial planning and, issuing the community share offer.

Angela Davies, The Co-operative Group's Co-operative Development Manager, said: "The closure of a pub can represent more than just another business closing - a well run ‘local' is an important part of the social life of a community.

"This is a great example of how a determined community can take a lead and have a say in the running of business and services important to their lives. The co-operative model offers an alternative way to do business, providing a robust approach to enterprise that can restore a lost sense of community cohesion and contribute to the re-building of a more balanced and sustainable economy."

Martin Booth, a director of The George & Dragon, a successful co-operative pub in Yorkshire - which also re-opened with the support of The Co-operative Enterprise Hub - is supporting the new co-operative and sharing his experience. Martin concluded: "The co-operative business model works well for village pubs. With little or no debt to service, realistic rents for tenants and, an army of active members, the co-operative model can enable determined communities, looking for sustainable solutions, to save their local."

For more information about taking a stake in The Butchers Arms, visit

Other community groups wanting information about member-owned enterprises, how to set up a co-operative and the advice, support and finance available, can contact The Co-operative Enterprise Hub at