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Bath residents look for help to buy local pub the Bell Inn

By Gurjit Degun , 13-Feb-2013

A group of Bath residents is looking for people to pitch in to buy the Bell Inn.

Regulars and staff at the pub joined forces with the Co-Operative Enterprise Hub to form a co-operative.

They are looking to raise £925,000 and pay a return of at least 5% per annum to investors. Shares start from £500.

The current owner has been at the pub for around 25 years, and is now looking to sell.

Steve Henwood, a member of the team behind the plans - who has been arranging live music at the Bell Inn for over 20 years, said: “The Bell is a thriving and popular pub and people from all over the country have expressed concern at news of its sale. 

“We decided to do something about it and, have been delighted with the support and interest received so far – we are working closely with the current owner and, our local MP Don Foster, who is Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, has also offered help.

“Our aim is quite simple really, to encourage the widest possible membership and bring the pub into community ownership then, ensure all the great things that people love about this historic free-house continue to go from strength to strength.”

The Co-operative - the UK’s largest member-owned organisation - has committed a further £1m this year to delivering its free Co-operative Enterprise Hub service to provide the tools needed for community-owned enterprises to get off the ground or grow.

Michael Fairclough, the Co-operative’s head of community and co-operative investment, said: “A well run pub is an important part of the social fabric of a community and, enterprises such as this are showing how by working together, communities can tackle and overcome some of the unprecedented challenges currently facing our society, environment and economy.”