A West Cumbrian community group has had its bid to buy a village local pub accepted.
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.
It reached another milestone today when it found out its bid for the Lowther Arms was accepted.
Chris Atkinson, chair of Lowther Arms Community Project Ltd, said: “We’re obviously delighted that our offer has been accepted, subject to contract, and we now look forward to completing the sale as soon as we can.
“This has all been possible thanks to the wonderful generosity of all our supporters and 264 shareholders, and the whole community can now look forward to the pub reopening as ‘more than a pub’.
“This is a huge achievement for the community and when we reached our minimum £250,000 target, we were able to put in an offer for the pub with proof of funds.
“This will now enable us to buy the pub and pay for a few expenses. The next step is to sell more shares and raise the additional funds to reach our £300,000 maximum target to pay for other expenses, any refurbishment and to create and install extra facilities like a café and essentials shop, and restore the caravan site at the rear of the pub.
“The pub has been sorely missed since it closed in December 2018 and all the supporters will be elated to hear that it will reopen.”
He added: “The initial survey in June 2019 showed there was unanimous support to keep the pub and the project has tried to deliver that.
“Obviously, there will be restrictions at first because of COVID-19 but it’s hoped these can be overcome and the pub will be back at the heart of the community and a central place that’s open for take-aways, a parcel point and as an additional resource for the community, working with the church, the village hall and other groups.
“The pub will also provide economic benefits such as employment and be a buyer of local goods and services.
“In the future, when COVID restrictions are lifted, we hope the newly opened pub and caravan and camp site will attract the visitors who come to enjoy the area’s stunning natural beauty, its Roman heritage, and fabulous walks and cycleways.
“The project is very grateful to the various organisations and sponsors who have helped 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.”
To buy shares, visit www.thelowtherarms.co.uk