The group applied for support from the More Than A Pub programme and received advice and guidance from a Plunkett Foundation Specialist Adviser. They also received a £2,500 bursary which helped them to consult with the community in the early stages and to incorporate as a Community Benefit Society (The Craufurd Arms Society Ltd.)
A funded study visit was also arranged to the community-owned Antwerp Arms pub in Tottenham. This generated an exchange of experience, information and good practice.
The Craufurd Arms Society raised £310,000 in community shares from 229 people who invested between £250 and £20,000. A £50,000 grant and loan finance worth £70,000 was also awarded through the More Than A Pub programme.
Local Councillors and Officers offered the group support and advice, and the Borough Council also approved a loan of £65,000 to pay the VAT on the purchase of the pub. The group, however, did not take up on the loan as they preferred to have only one secured loan on the property.
Co-operative & Community Finance did, however, provide an additional £93,000 secured loan based on the robust business plan.
The Craufurd Arms is the idea venue for many activities and strong working relationships have been developed and established with a wide range of local clubs, societies and organisations. The pub also plays a significant role in preventing loneliness and social isolation and, in order to further this aim, the group contacted the Campaign to End Loneliness and are now delivering activities that help to reduce social isolation.
An impact survey confirmed that it is not just the events that take place in the pub itself, but there are extra things that come out of having somewhere safe as well as sociable to meet, such as lasting friendships and romantic relationships, all of which make a big difference to local people.
The Society believes the business is making a big impact and helps to:
- Improve people's health and wellbeing
- Reduce social isolation
- Provide better access to basic services
- Support greater community cohesion
- Evoke community pride and empowerment
As well as morning drop-ins, a local autism group holds regular coffee mornings and social evenings at the pub for parents and carers of autistic children and young adults. The 'Maidenhead Memories' group have also held their first meeting at The Craufurd Arms and are planning to meet on the first Wednesday of every month. This group helps to bring together any isolated members of the community.