Save The Step
Frequently Asked Questions
Who is running this project?
The bid is currently being run by local volunteers who form the directors of Myddleton Road Community Benefit Society. This includes business owners and professionals with a broad range of relevant skills for this project. We are being advised and supported by people with experience in commercial property development, architecture, starting community businesses and running local hospitality businesses.
Everyone will be welcome to invest and become a member of the Community Benefit Society soon. A steering group and then management committee has been formed to manage the project. If you are interested in being a part of this please let us know through our survey! We will be informed in our decisions by members and the results of our community survey to make sure we are acting in the interests of the community.
Who will run the business?
We will find a business experienced at running pubs, bars or cafes to be the tenant. They would take on the day-to-day running of the business and pay the rent to us, the Community Benefit Society. We have multiple prospective tenants interested.
We are taking the views of the community through our survey on who you would like to run the business, but we are currently talking to local businesses who would put community at the heart of things, much like the old Step.
Will the new business be like The Step was?
Our community survey and public events will tell us what local people want and this will be the basis on which a tenant is chosen, so that the community’s wishes are respected.
What organisation will own the property?
We have set up a new Community Benefit Society (CBS) which would buy and renovate the property. Everyone in the community would be able to become a shareholder, so we would own it together.
What is a Community Benefit Society?
A Community Benefit Society is similar to company in that it has shareholders, but different as it is not for profit and democratic. It’s profits stay in the society for community benefit and there is a one member one vote rule.
Shareholders will have withdrawable shares, which means they can choose to withdraw their shares and receive back the money they put in, so long as the CBS has the funds available.
How much do you need to raise?
We need to raise £250,000 through a share issue to the local community and a loan to purchase the building. This is on top of other sources of funding we have secured through grants to give us a total of £500,000.
The property is for sale for £385,000, but will require extensive renovation and kitting out too.
When would you need my investment?
We have our grant funding in place and expect to start the formal share issue in late January 2023.
Could I get my investment back later on?
Shareholders will have withdrawable shares, which means they can choose to withdraw their shares and receive back the money they put in, so long as the Community Ownership Society has the funds available.
Each year we would have rental income coming in, some of which could be used to pay back shareholders looking to withdraw funds. If there are too many requests, these would be prioritised on a first-come first-served basis.
What if the business fails?
The business would be run by the tenant, who would agree a monthly rental payment and minimum term length with us. We will have insurance in place so if the business was no longer able to pay the rent, we will have at least one year of rent covered, giving us time to find a new tenant without losing any rental income.
The Step and its predecessor, Henley’s Bar, operated for decades with the only gap in operation being the last two years as the current owner attempted to turn the property into flats. This gives us comfort of the long term viability of the business.
What are the other sources of funding apart from the local community?
Our two main funders beyond the community will be a government grant, provided by the Community Ownership Fund and a specialist funder of community businesses, which we expect to be Co-operative and Community Finance who are very supportive of our project and have provided to finance similar projects across the country.
We have also received grants from The Architectural Heritage Fund and The Booster Fund, as well as support and advice from The Plunkett Foundation.
Do you already have the grant?
Yes! We now have a grant from the Community Ownership Fund after a successful application.
How will decisions be taken by the Community Benefit Society?
A Community Benefit Society is democratic by nature, with one member one vote. A management committee voted on by members will ultimately make day-to-day decisions, informed by the views of members and the community.
Has anyone else done anything like this before?
Yes, there are dozens of community owned pubs around the country, the nearest being the Antwerp Arms in Tottenham.
Community pubs are a resilient form of business and there were 119 in the UK at the end of 2019. The community ownership model has a strong chance of success. The survival rate of community pubs reflect this ‑ since the first community pub opened in 2004 none have yet closed, representing a 100% success rate.