A bid to save a village pub in West Cumbria has raised £250,000.
Mawbray villagers banded together to set up the Lowther Arms Community Project Ltd to save the inn and offered shares for people to buy.
In 13 weeks, they raised £150,000 and were given £100,000 by Co-operatives UK in match funding.
Christopher Atkinson, chair of the project, said: “We’d like to say a huge thank you to every one of our 244 shareholders! Most are from Cumbria, but they’re also from as far away as Devon and Kent to the Isle of Mull, and from Norfolk to Tyne and Wear.
“We even have shareholders in Canada, USA, Kenya, Switzerland, Lithuania, Poland, Germany, and France!”
The project submitted a bid to buy the pub in March, but did not have proof of funds. Now it has reached this milestone, Chris added, it has resubmitted its offer.
He said: “We must thank the various organisations and sponsors who have helped us along the way including the community pub network; the Plunkett Foundation’s More Than A Pub programme; Key Fund; Co-operatives UK; CAMRA; the Mawbray Cheese Company and Allerdale council.
“Next, we look forward to launching the next phase of the project, which is to reach our maximum £300,000 target.
“This money is needed to pay for refurbishment, and to build and install the café, shop, and parcel point, restore the caravan site at the rear of the pub, and upgrade the electric car charging point.
“These extra facilities will provide essential services for the community and the additional income they generate will help ensure the pub is sustainable in the long term.
“We’re all pulling together, so let’s make this happen as soon as possible. The great news is that it’s win-win – the owners will get the sale they’re looking for and the community will have a pub – hopefully in time for Christmas!”
To buy shares to support the project, visit www.thelowtherarms.co.uk