£150k crowdfunding target to save music venue

By Nikkie Sutton

- Last updated on GMT

Creating a real buzz: the Hive is a community benefit society and is looking to take on De Bees
Creating a real buzz: the Hive is a community benefit society and is looking to take on De Bees
A Cheshire music venue has launched a crowdfunding campaign to transform it into a community-owned venue and keep it in business.

De Bees in Winsford, which is currently operated by Cornerstone Inns, is owned by Ei Group. At the time of publication, the page had raised just over £6,200 of its £150,000 target and outlines the venue’s history as opening 21 years ago as a music-comedy venue and nightclub.

It read: “Over the years, De Bees has been renowned for its late-night entertainment as much as it has been for its shows. In addition, De Bees has been home to dance classes, theatre workshops, kids arts and entertainment.

“The venue attracts thousands of visitors to Winsford as well as providing a popular destination venue for the local community to get together and be entertained but an extended period under investment by pubco owners led to the venue reducing its programme of cultural activity in recent years.

“Although De Bees has remained home to Winsford’s thriving music scene and still regularly hosts local giants, the hours of opening have, in the main, become limited to weekend nights.

“After an estate re-evaluation earlier this year, De Bees owners Ei Group decided to put the building up for disposal, it occupies a significant plot of land and, on the open market, would most likely be sold to property developers as has been the case with several other community venues closed in Winsford in recent years.”

Community benefit

It added: “De Bees is the last remaining purpose-built entertainment venue in town so, thankfully, Ei Group has agreed to give the community a chance to save the venue by accepting the Hive’s offer to purchase it into community ownership but if we fail to complete before June, the building will be made available on the open market and what happens next will be out of our hands.”

The Hive is a community benefit society with charitable objects including fighting social exclusion, building community cohesion and furthering opportunities for the advancement of life in young people.

It is a member-led democratic organisation registered with Co-operatives UK that trades for the benefit of the local community.

Cornerstone Inns founder Damon Horrill said: “It would be a dreadful shame if Winsford lost De Bees. In community hands, it would have a bright future as the Hive. It’s not too late, we can do this.

“Community ownership of pubs is a growing movement but still very early days. This is an opportunity for our community to do something noteworthy for itself and help change the fortunes of Winsford. To be revered as a trailblazing town would be a great start.”

For more information, visit the Crowdfunder page​ for the venue.

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