Who We Are
A wee bit about us…
The Old Forge Community Benefit Society formed in 2021 to take forward a community-ownership bid to purchase our only local pub, The Old Forge. The pub went on the market in February 2021, and after 14 months of hard work from a group of dedicated local volunteers, we got the keys on 28th March 2022. Now the hard work really begins!
This is an exciting opportunity to pave a new way forward for our world-renowned pub. Community ownership offers countless social, environmental and economic benefits for Knoydart and its visitors; and we are looking forward to sharing with you all the plans we have in store.
The Old Forge Community Benefit Society Limited was registered under the Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies Act 2014 on 8th July 2021. Registration number: 8672
Our Vision for The Old Forge
A vibrant and environmentally conscious community-owned pub, welcoming to all and investing in the regeneration and stability of Knoydart.
Community ownership will ensure a shared commitment to the pub’s success, and bring benefit to people staying on Knoydart and visitors alike.
Our goals are to:
Create a friendly and inclusive social hub that is welcoming to all residents and visitors
Create an environmentally conscious business model that takes direct action to tackle climate change
Offer year-round employment
Offer training and career development opportunities
Actively collaborate with local businesses and organisations to offer complementary services to the community and visitors
Operate a sustainable, robust business that invests profits back into the community,
Make a concerted effort to support local producers, in turn improving the circular economy
The Knoydart community were informed of the current owner's intention to put The Old Forge on the market. A consultation was held to seek views on a community buyout bid and the response was overwhelmingly supportive.
A steering committee was formed to take the project forward. The group submitted an application to the Scottish Land Fund for early-stage feasibility work. The Old Forge went on the market on Tuesday 23rd. Feb.
Received grant support from the Scottish Land Fund to conduct early-stage feasibility work including valuations and instructing a business plan consultant. We began working with Community Shares Scotland and Plunkett Foundation to register the group as a Community Benefit Society.
5th March - Successful application to the Scottish Land Fund for early-stage feasibility work
23rd Feb - We launched our website and socials
Finalised our fundraising plan and announced that we will launch a crowdfund campaign in the near future. First community consultation held to gather information for the business plan.
Finalising the Society's Rules ready to register the CBS officially. Lots of back ground work going on to enable us to begin fundraising.
Application submitted to the FCA to register the Community Benefit Society. Positive first meeting held with the current pub owner. Second community consultation event to gather more feedback before finalising the business plan. Application to second stage Scottish Land Fund submitted.
Business plan finalised. FCA registration approved for the Community Benefit Society and the first management committee formed.
Community Share Offer prospectus submitted for assessment for Community Shares Stadnard Mark Certification. Application to the Community Ownership Fund submitted.
Still waiting on a bank account....
Share Prospectus approved and received Standard Mark. Share offer launched 10th September. with minimum target of £204.5k exceeded in the first week! ...and we FINALLY received our bank account details!
10th Sept - Community Shares day 1 - £90,000 pledged
16th Sept - Community Shares day 7 - £208,575 pledged!
Share offer closed one week early reaching a phenomenal total of £256,035! Scottish Land Fund Application granted, with the CBS being awarded £508,000 towards the overall project. Community Ownership Fund application granted, awarding £219,096.
13th Oct - Scottish Land Fund support granted!
27th Oct - Community Ownership Fund success!
Offer submitted to the sellers representative to purchase the pub on 9th November. Crowdfund launched 18th November, with minimum target smashed in 8 hours.
Crowdfund closed on 18th December with a final total raised of £66,496! The CBS committee continued negotiations with the seller.
Negotiations continue with the seller. Recruitment for project officer began.
Negotiations continue with the seller to finalise the sale of the pub. Davie Newton appointed as project manager after successful interview.
SUCCESS!! The Old Forge CBS took ownership of the pub on Monday 28th March 2022!
After a chaotic 2-week turnaround, we reopened the doors under community ownership on 15th April.
The pub operated on a drinks-only basis. for the first summer season and welcomed thousands of visitors through our doors. Music sessions returned, the beer flowed, and we had lots of very happy customers!
From November we reduced our opening hours but still offered a daily service. We also had time to offer lots more community events including game nights, quizzes and parties.
The pub closed for refurbishments at the end of January, and our team of local tradespeople and Knoydart Construction Co moved in to start transforming the pub.