'Rally for the Raleigh' - plan launched for community to buy village pub

The Sir Walter Raleigh pub in East Budleigh, which looks set to be taken over by the community

The Sir Walter Raleigh pub in East Budleigh, which looks set to be taken over by the community - Credit: Peter Bowler

A 'milestone’ event has taken place in the project by East Budleigh residents to buy and run their village pub.  

Nearly 200 people attended an official launch on Sunday, January 16 and heard how they can become shareholders in the Sir Walter Raleigh and ‘make it the fantastic pub we all want it to be’. 

The interior of the Sir Walter Raleigh

The interior of the Sir Walter Raleigh - Credit: Judith Venning

The chair of the steering group, local businessman Mark Duffelen, described the event as ‘an important milestone’ in the project to ‘do something really special for the village’. 

Residents at the presentation and launch event for buying the Sir Walter Raleigh pub

Residents at the presentation and launch event for buying the Sir Walter Raleigh pub - Credit: Judith Venning

The initiative began last year when the pub’s owner decided to sell up, and offered the East Budleigh community the chance to buy it. 

A questionnaire circulated in the village received more than 200 responses, with 150 people saying they would buy shares and/or volunteer to help run the pub.  Local benefactors put up the money to buy the property, on the understanding that it would be repaid by the community within 12 months. 

On Sunday, supporters gathered at East Budleigh Village Hall for a progress update and the launch of the share offer. 

Mark Duffelen presents the community buy-out plans at the launch event

Mark Duffelen presents the community buy-out plans at the launch event - Credit: Judith Venning

A total of between £400,000 and £440,000 is needed to buy and refurbish the pub, and it is hoped that half of that sum will be raised from selling shares. Grant funding will be sought for the rest, with the alternative option of taking out loans, although the steering group hope to avoid the cost of paying interest. 

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Judith Venning, a spokesperson for the group, said: “Residents sat spellbound as the plans were revealed.  

“Enthusiasm was high and residents’ questions were all answered in full. Finally, Mark asked everyone to complete a ‘pledge’ document, indicating how many shares they might purchase and whether they will volunteer. Interest in the venture has also come from people who do not live locally.   

“Shares are being offered at a minimum of 100 for £100.00 up to £20,000.00 per person. No interest will be given for at least three years, but this is being treated as a philanthropic way of saving the pub, which is so important to village life.  It will be inclusive, offering opportunities to the lonely or isolated and providing a morning café in addition to traditional pub opening hours.” 

The steering group have asked for initial responses to the share offer by January 28. 

Further information can be found on the pub’s website or by emailing enquiries@eastbudleigh.org.uk