Frequently Asked Questions
Why form a community pub?
As a community pub The Old Forge will be run by the community, for the community. Profits will be reinvested back into the business and other local projects that provide a wider community benefit. We can tailor the business model to ensure that it reflects the goals and aspirations of the community. We can protect this vital community asset into the future, ensuring it always works with the communities best interests at heart, and delivers tangible and long-lasting benefits.
How will the buyout be funded?
We have three strands to our fundraising plan:
1. Scottish Land Fund. £508,000 secured
2. Community Share Offer: £256,035 secured
3. Crowdfunder - to be launced at the end of Oct.
These three strands will combine and allow us to purchase the pub, conduct essential repairs, improve the pub layout and services (ie. new toilets deperately needed), and run a thriving community business as detailed in our business plan. We have also applied to the Community Ownership Fund.
What will the project officer do?
Who will run, and work in, the pub?
While it will be a community pub, that does not mean it will be run 'by the community'. We will not be relying on volunteer help to run the bar, restaurant, office, maintenance etc. The pub will employ an experienced manager who will oversee the day-to-day running of the pub and report to the management committee. Additional experienced staff - such as kitchen staff, bartenders and waiting staff, will also be advertised for and employed. Staff requirements are detailed in our business plan.
Got a question?
We will be adding to this FAQ section over the next week while, but if there's anything we've not covered that you would like to know please get in touch!
You can also get in touch via our Socials - find us on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter @theoldforgecbs
How does the Benefit Society work?
If/when our community buyout of the pub is successful, The Old Forge Community Benefit Society (CBS) Ltd will own the property and business. The CBS has a management committee of 9 (see our team page) which will oversee the day-to-day running of the society, and the committee reports back to the CBS's 91 shareholder members and other stakeholders within the community. The CBS members have invested in shares and hold voting rights at annual member's meetings.
Why are you fundraising for so much?
Buying the pub is just the first step in this project - then we have to manage the business successfully as set out in our detailed business plan. One of the first things we will have to do is carry out essential repairs including fixing the extension roof at the back, and rewiring all the electrics up to current standards. Then we need to make the building fit-for-purpose - renovating the toilets and enlarging the cellar were some items identified during the community consultation process.
How was the pub valued?
As part of our Scottish Land Fund application we were required to conduct an independent valuation of the property, from which our financial calculations were drawn up. This valuation was carried out by Allied Surveyors Scotland who were granted access to the property to carry out a bricks-and-mortar valuation. We are currently (Oct 2021) in the process of seeking an independent valuation of the business goodwill, and are working with the current owner to do this.
Do you know how to run a pub?
An experienced bar manager will be employed to oversee the day-to-day running of the business, however it will also be important that the Society's management committee has a good understanding of the pub trade and running community businesses. The current committee's collective experience includes private business management, finance, and extensive experience in community ownership - and not forgetting we have three former Old Forge employees and a former owner!
What happens with the profits?
All profits made by the pub will either be reinvested back into the business, or will be donated to other local causes which provide wider community benefit on Knoydart.
None of the management committee or CBS members stand to personally gain from their involvement in the society, other than through the interest payable to all member shareholders.
What's the SLF breakdown?
We secured £508,000 through the Scottish Land Fund, of which £380,000 is assigned to support acquisition costs. The remainder is assigned to the following: land & building tax, legal and conveyancing costs, insurance, setup (IT/office), essential repairs, and employment of a project officer.
How much will the pub cost?
The pub is on the market for offers over £425,000 - however this figure does not include the sellers figure for business goodwill. We are in the process of seeking an independent valuation of the goodwill, and once we have this information the committee will be able to assess all the figures and submit an appropriate offer to the seller.
How will you stop staff stealing?
Yes, believe it or not, we have been asked this question multiple times - and the answer is very simple: we will do it in the exact same way a private owner would. We will conduct a thorough screening process during recruitment, and employ experienced and trustworthy staff who respect the business and its values. Staff will be paid a living wage, get their fair share of tips, and we will endeavour to make sure their time working at the pub is happy, fulfilling and rewarding.