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Our Story

Bampton Valley residents have come together with a common goal: to 'Save a Pub for the Valley' under a community ownership model.

 

We want to reinstate 'The Mardale Inn' to be a vibrant hub for the local community - as well as offering a friendly welcome to visitors. A 'Community Benefit Society' (CBS) based community ownership model is a proven way for critical local assets to 'survive and thrive'.

To 'Save a Pub for the Valley', we need hundreds of individuals, from the Valley and beyond, to invest and become members of our CBS. Whether you know the Valley and 'The Mardale' from local connections, or you have visited due to your love of Wainwright, 'Withnail and I', our abundant wildlife or just our friendly folk, we want you to join and feel part of this journey with us. 

We are grateful to be supported in our work by Plunkett, a charitable foundation which has the mission of helping communities 'to take control of their challenges [in the rural economy] and overcome them together'. Plunkett has helped hundreds of rural community business over the years. Local evidence of their community pub success in Cumbria is particularly strong given 'The Old Crown' at Hesket Newmarket and the 'The Butchers Arms' at Crosby Ravensworth.

 

We have done feasibility assessment work on 'The Mardale' leading to the development of business and renovation plans. We believe the 'Save a Pub for the Valley' project has exciting potential and are confident we can realise similar success to other community pubs in Cumbria.

 

Our 'Invest' page includes all the details of a Share Offer that was run during February 2022 and was targeted to raise £360,000 in a month. Investment possibilities ranged from £100 to over £10,000 per shareholder. Once a shareholder, you are an equal member of the CBS able to influence the direction of your investment. In parallel we will be seeking grant support from other bodies.

Check out the Timeline below to see latest status.

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Our Vision

  • To be a local pub which delivers a vital service to the immediate community

  • To be a friendly & inclusive pub which welcomes people of all ages and backgrounds, and helps avoid social isolation in the Valley

  • To be a customer focused pub which helps realise the Valley’s tourism potential, celebrates Cumbrian produce, and supports local income & employment

Timeline

June 2017

November 2017

June 2018

May 2021

July 2021

August 2021

October 2021

November 2021

December 2021

January 2022

February 2022

May 2022

With rumours circulating of a possible sale, a community group gets together and tries to lodge an 'Asset of Community Value' (ACV) on the 'Crown and Mitre'. An ACV order would prevent it from being sold with out the community being given a 6 week opportunity to make an offer

The application for an ACV on the 'Crown & Mitre' is rejected as the owner successfully argues that 'there are other facilities in the village' (The Mardale Inn - which just reopened in September 2017) 

'The Mardale' closes again - but at least the 'Crown & Mitre' is still open for food, drink and overnight stays (mainly 'Coast to Coast' walkers)

'The Crown & Mitre' never reopens to non-residents post pandemic and is being actively marketed for sale. With no ACV in place, the community has to assemble local support, review options and compete with other buyers

The first Public Meeting is held on July 23rd in Bampton Memorial Hall to assess interest in saving a pub for the valley.  Over 60 people attend and a survey is launched. 'The Crown & Mitre' is confirmed as having been exchanged for sale 8 days later

The Survey closes with an amazing 186 responses and with over 91% supporting the principle of a Community Pub (9% Maybes). Our results are shared with Plunkett Foundation to access some of their funded support - which they quickly agree to. A follow up Public Meeting on August 19th to review results and talk to everybody about Stage 2 - Feasibility Assessment.  

'The Crown & Mitre' sale completes on October 1st - and it is confirmed it will not be reopening as a pub for the Valley. A professional valuation is completed on 'The Mardale' and further feasibility work is completed to prove its suitability as a potential asset of long term value to the community 

Another Public Meeting in late October further endorses a community led approach. This website is launched and we start to take our story beyond the Valley

Interest in project ramps and our supporter base grows significantly. Award winning filmmaker and photographer Terry Abraham joins our campaign and shares an exclusive gallery of Valley photos with us. Our local MP, Dr Neil Hudson, confirms his support for the initiative. Our press coverage kicks off with a conversation with on BBC Radio Cumbria.

With the clock ticking down to our share launch target of early February, more people join the 'Save a Pub for the Valley' campaign on the website and social, often drawn by common interest in Withnail or Wainwright, and their past association with Mardale. Our draft business plan and share offer documents are finalised and reviewed by Community Shares Unit. After some changes they are accredited with a Community Shares Standard Mark and ready to be promoted for investment.

The Share Offer is launched on Wednesday February 2nd with over 130 people attending the event either in person or online; coverage kicks off in local press and the campaign is up and running. Within one week, we have achieved over £180,000 in shares sold which is an amazing start. We continue to make progress receiving great coverage in social online and offline in traditional media. With one week to go we just cross the £300,000 mark and then surge through to the final £400,000 maximum target by the end of March 1st!

 

The purchase of The Mardale Inn is completed and refurbishment kicks off in earnest - exciting times!