Future of the Air Hostess – Part 6

Article first published in the Tollerton Village Newsletter, January 2020 Edition. Written by Steve King.

As most of you will know, efforts that started back in mid-April and ended in mid-October, concluded with the village being given permission by Everards Brewery, to attempt to purchase the Air Hostess as a community pub.

The following month saw the preparation of materials for a share launch presentation event, held at Tollerton School on Wednesday 20th November. The idea was to present a vision of a future community pub that villagers could be excited by, and support where possible.

Over 200 people attended. They learnt that the price for purchasing the pub (and land) was £295,000 and of plans for upgrades and improvements, that would lead to additional costs. The details of the intended access to loans and grants, to aid the purchase of the pub were also outlined.

It was explained that it was hoped villagers would play an important role in applying for shares capital of up to £170,000 in value. This figure consisted of £50,000 to buy the pub and a further £120,000 intended to be used to provide an upgraded pub, that the community could be proud of. The share offer would be open from November 20th to December 18th. The reaction at the event was very positive with many expressing gratitude for the efforts in gaining the village the opportunity to purchase its pub.

A second smaller launch event was held at the Parish Rooms on Sunday 8th December for those who were interested but unable to attend the original school event.

As I write this on the 12th December (prior to a pre-Christmas print deadline for the newsletter of December 11th), there are 8 days until the Share Offer closing date. We have so far raised more than £86,000 in Share Capital, more than halfway to our target.

By the time you read this, the Share Offer closing date will have passed and the amount raised will have risen further. The nearer the money raised is to the target of £170,000, the more the number of planned improvements that will be financed.

The final figure raised will be well publicised around the village and online at: http://tollertontrust.org.uk/ and https://www.facebook.com/TollertonCommunityPub/ site.

I think the sums raised are heartwarming and I know the steering group would like to give a massive thank you to each of you who have turned out at events and especially to those who have contributed by buying shares. The first tranche of emails thanking those who’ve brought shares have been sent out and all who buy shares who in due course be sent such an email.

Future at The Air Hostess – Part 5

Future at The Air Hostess – Part 5

As published in the December 2019 edition of the Tollerton Newsletter. Written by Steve King.

Future of the Air Hostess – Part 5

Since the last newsletter the pressure on the Community Pub Steering Group has been fairly intense. A Business Plan and Share Offer documentation together with Feasibility Plans that indicate potential ways to improve the pub have all been created. Articles have been written for the Local Nottingham Camra Group newsletter and its national award winning Nottingham Drinker magazine and also for the Nottingham Post. Interviews have been given to BBC Radio Nottingham. Leaflets containing information about the Share Launch event were distributed to households by Parma’s newspaper deliverers. These leaflets were also distributed to many individuals attending the Scout Hut Bonfire Night and to parents collecting their children at the school. Information from the Evening Post article and the Share Launch event leaflet have been posted to each of the village notice boards. Information has been posted to the Tollerton Community Pub web site and to Facebook.

To comply with the submission deadline for the December newsletter this article was written in mid November, in the week before the Share Launch event held at Tollerton School at 7.30 pm on 20th November that I mentioned in last month’s newsletter.

I hope those of you who are interested in the future of the pub were able to attend the share launch event and were able to support the purchase of the pub for the community by buying shares.

The Business Plan, the Share Offer documentation together with Feasibility Plans that indicate potential ways to improve the pub were all available to read and view. Steering group members presented material that discussed the history and value of the Air Hostess, survey details, negotiations, the business plan and the share offer.

If you were unable to attend the meeting but are interested in purchasing shares, material will be presented online at: http://tollertontrust.org.uk/ and shorter items at: https://www.facebook.com/TollertonCommunityPub/

Similarly how much has been raised will be displayed (and updated) on the facebook page (see previous paragraph for link). For those who like to see physical rather than digital items this information will be prominently displayed (and updated) in the window of the parish rooms.

As was explained at the share launch event there are be a number of drop-in Q&A and pledge sessions for those who did not complete a purchase of shares at the launch event. These drop-in Q&A and pledge sessions are also for those who are interested in purchasing shares but were unable to attend the launch event on the 20th November.

Please feel free to come and discuss any issues you have relating to the purchase of shares at these sessions. The date, time and venues for these drop-in Q&A and pledge sessions are:
Wed. 27th November 2pm-3pm. Also 7pm-8pm (both sessions, Parish Rooms)
Wed. 4th December 2pm-3pm. Same day 7pm-7.30pm (both sessions, Parish Rooms)
Thur. 12th December All Day (Election Day) (Methodist Church)
Sat. 14th December 10pm-12pm (Brunch with Santa) (Tollerton Primary School)
Wed. 18th December 2pm-4pm, 7pm-10pm (Village Carol Concert) (Parish Rooms)

Please note you can also pledge by post to Tollerton Community Trust, 40-42 Burnside Grove, Tollerton, Nottingham NG12 4EB. The appropriate forms are available on the website at http://tollertontrust.org.uk/

If you ever lose this copy of the newsletter but want to reference its content (or any of the previous newsletter articles written under the ‘Future of the Air Hostess’ title) online copies can be found at http://tollertontrust.org.uk/

Future of the Air Hostess: Part 4

The following article was originally written by Steve King and published in the November Edition of the Tollerton Village Newsletter

The Future of the Air Hostess (Part 4)

This is the 4th village newsletter article written to keep you informed of the ongoing progress being made towards securing the future of the Air Hostess for the community.

To recall Everards Brewery informed Rushcliffe Borough Council on 15th April 2019 of their intention to sell the Air Hostess. An Asset of Community Value order placed previously upon the pub by Tollerton Parish Council, allowed a newly formed Community Pub Steering Group a period of 6 months until 15th October 2019, to negotiate a price and an agreement in principle to purchase the Air Hostess as a community pub for the village from the brewery.

As you read this, the date of 15th October 2019 has recently passed and I am pleased to be able to tell you, that forms to create a Community Benefit Society have been submitted, and we have an agreement in principle with the brewery.

A price has been agreed which allows the village community a fixed amount of time to raise the capital to purchase the pub, via the offering of shares to interested parties. To that end there will be an Share Launch event at Tollerton School at 7.30pm on Wednesday 20th November 2019.

I hope you think the content of the previous two paragraphs is good news! The idea of creating a community pub for the village is one I am intrigued and excited by. Getting to this point has taken a lot of work by the various members of the Community Pub Steering Group.

The work of the Community Pub Steering Group in conjunction with Everards Brewery has effectively given the village a unique opportunity to acquire the Air Hostess for the community, which has been the driving rationale for the efforts of the steering group during the last 6 months.

The support for saving the pub for the village has largely been positive among those who’ve expressed opinions. I know of people who will support the purchase of the pub by purchasing shares when they become available. I know of those who have offered contributing services. I also know of those who are excited at the prospect of a thriving community pub where they feel valued and welcomed. We need as many supporters as possible. The pub will be your community pub and positioned to benefit the community more than has been possible in the past. But we need to maximise support. The development of a community pub needs support to make it work and if it doesn’t, the village will be a poorer place for its lack.

Consider then for a moment a village with no pub. On the Savills Estate Agents blog (at https://www.savills.co.uk/blog/article/277752/residential-property/is-it-a-good-idea-to-buy-a-home-near-a-pub.aspx) an article from 2015 identified that up to a third of buyers would check their chosen property is near a good hostelry. Research from Sarah Beeny’s online estate agency Tepilo shows that a good quality pub is a major selling point for 23 per cent of buyers, adding to demand and competition for nearby homes (see article at https://www.independent.co.uk/money/5-surprising-things-that-will-boost-the-value-of-your-home-a7169621.html). It rather seems that a village with a pub is more desirable than a village without a pub!

I’d like to acknowledge the efforts of Rob Barrett and Mark Jones of the Community Pub Steering Group in bring the material in the previous paragraph to my attention.

Finally if you use Facebook you can keep up to date with ongoing news relating to the Air Hostess. Having logged into your Facebook account simply use the search term: ‘tollerton community pub’ (omitting the quotes).

Future of the Air Hostess: Part 3

The following article was originally written by Steve King and published in the October Edition of the Tollerton Village Newsletter.

The Future of the Air Hostess (Part 3)

The aim of this article is two-fold; to present the main findings of the recent survey and then provide updates on recent developments.

Main findings of the recent survey

A highly encouraging final tally of 396 questionnaires were received in response to the recent Community Survey, that requested your comments and thoughts on the future of the Air Hostess.

While the main findings of the recent survey are outlined below, please note that full details of the survey responses can be found on the Tollerton Parish Council(http://www.tollertonparishcouncil.gov.uk/) website.

Of those that completed the survey 95% of respondents (375 of the surveys submitted) are in favour of saving the Air Hostess. This will hopefully add some much-needed weight to the idea of the Parish Council assisting in saving this vital asset for our village. The responses received were from a broad cross section of the community rather than a specific group with approximately a 1/3 of of the respondents falling into each of the 26-45, 46-65 and 65+ age-range categories.

Most of the following questions were multiple choice and so I will present the top 3 answers in each question to give you a flavour of the opinions in the village. The main reasons cited in preventing people visiting the pub were “Food Choice/Quality” (44%, 167 of the surveys submitted), “Customer Service”(37% 140), and “Ambience/Pub Layout” (36%, 137).

In terms of getting more customers to visit the pub, the consensus given by the community was that the following needed improvement; “Better Food” (63%, 230 of the surveys submitted), “Ambience/Pub Layout” (54%, 198) and Customer Service”(47%, 171)

Most people completing the survey suggested that if the pub was saved said they would visit the pub once a week (32%, 127 of the surveys submitted), Occasionally (28%, 114), once a fortnight (17%, 68) or 2-3 times a week (17%, 67).

50% (179 of the 356) of respondents who commented upon the community services the pub should offer, felt that family friendly time/events were important to enable the pub to become more integrated into the heart of the community. Other important services/events suggested were Quiz club/night (37%, 131), more live music (35%, 123) and a function room (27%, 97). These ideas will be taken forward in the planning of the pub should it be successfully purchased for the village.

Food appears to be an important issue and we asked specifically about the catering that the pub should provide in the future. The strongest response was that the pub should provide a high-quality Sunday lunch (56%, 208), a weekday dinner (55%, 202) and/or a Saturday dinner (43%, 132). Other meal times scored less highly but still achieved over 100 responses. This suggests that if the food could be pitched at the right level then it would bring in some much-needed footfall and revenue to support further developments of the pub and possibly other community projects.

72% (270) of people asked felt it was very important for Tollerton to have a pub in walking distance, with the pub ambience set to reflect a village pub, rather than a local boozer or a fine dining establishment.

The last couple of questions asked the public what type of and how much support they would lend to the project. 57% of people that replied to this question gave further details of how their skills and knowledge could enhance our project. If you are reading this and supplied your details you may receive an invite to assist us in due course! I think the most heartening aspect of this question was that 53% (118) of people would be willing to purchase a share in the pub (in return for perks/dividends!) or make a donation to the cause (23%, 53). At the end of the day, our community will need some cold hard cash to make this idea work and so it is gratifying for all of us who have already put many hours into this project to believe that there is financial support waiting should the opportunity to purchase become available.

Finally, 88% (321) of respondents agreed with the idea that the parish council should provide financial support to the pub project.

I’d like to acknowledge the efforts of Andrew Flett of the Community Pub Steering Group for much of the above detail.

Updates about recent developments

Representatives of Community Pub Steering Group are in negotiation with Everards Brewery. This process takes time and is subject to business confidentiality issues but it is ongoing. We will let you know news when we have it but rest assured the Steering Group are minded that the Asset of Community Value order lasts until 15th October 2019, namely 6 months on from the date that Everards Brewery informed Rushcliffe Borough Council of their intention sell the Air Hostess.

The information from the survey informs the development of the Business Plan and the views relating to the way the pub can be managed.

At the start of this article it was noted that a full copy of the survey responses can be found on the Tollerton Parish Council(http://www.tollertonparishcouncil.gov.uk/) website. Additionally it is intended to start communicating with villagers in a more timely manner through Social Media via the Tollerton Parish Council site.

As we seek to put together a viable bit to purchase the pub for the village, the coming months will be used to inform all residents about the share purchase proposal we intend to make. If we are successful in our bid by 15th October 2019 we will then set about raising funds alongside developing a strong business case for the future prosperity of the Air Hostess. Keep your eyes peeled for further announcements on the Parish website or Village newsletter.

Future of the Air Hostess: Part 2

The following article was originally written by Steve King and published in the August Edition of the Tollerton Village Newsletter.

The Future of the Air Hostess (Part 2)

Replies from more than 330 of the 900 homes in the village were received in response to the recent Community Survey that requested your comments and thoughts, on the future of the Air Hostess.

Some surveys were completed at the village event, some handed in at the post office, some to the parish rooms and some submitted online. Talking to one friend, he suddenly rushed indoors to return moments later, with a completed, still to be submitted form, “Here you are, you’ll know what to do with this”! People’s views were delivered in a variety of ways, but delivered they were. To those of you who took the time to complete and submit your survey, I’d like to say a big “Thank You”.

As I write, the survey closing date of the 20th July is a few days away, but as you read this that date will have passed. The data received so far has been collated and any surveys submitted by the closing date will be added. The vast majority of the surveys received have been supportive of the pub being retained for the village and in the case of most, comments were constructive and considered.

I understand the data will then be analysed and presented to the next Community Pub Steering Group meeting, to be held in the first week of August. The date of publication of the next newsletter is some distance off (in early October). So that the details of this analysis are available to those who are interested, I intend to request that details be uploaded to the village noticeboards and website (at http://www.tollertonparishcouncil.gov.uk/) following the meeting, and well before the aforementioned October publication of the newsletter.

A draft business plan is currently being written and is also due for presentation at the August Community Pub Steering Group.

People are quite clearly curious about the asking price of the pub. Heck, I’m curious. But to the best of my knowledge, negotiations with Everards regarding purchase of the pub are likely to commence soon, and as of yet no initial selling price has been mooted.

In the last newsletter I mentioned Everards Brewery had informed Rushcliffe Borough Council on 15th April 2019 of their intention sell the Air Hostess. An Asset of Community Value order lasts for 6 months; in this case until 15th October 2019. Between now and the 15th October, members of the Community Pub Steering Group will be in negotiations with Everards to decide upon a price to purchase the Air Hostess as a community pub for the village. If a price is agreed, a deposit can then be made, which allows the village time to raise the capital to purchase the pub, via the offering of shares to interested parties.

I will continue to try to keep you informed of what is happening with regard to the Air Hostess in the next newsletter in October. If you are able in the meantime, periodically check the village noticeboards and website for any updates.

Future of the Air Hostess: Part 1

The following article was originally written by Steve King and published in the July Edition of the Tollerton Village Newsletter.

The Future of the Air Hostess

On 15th May approximately 100 residents attended the Annual Parish Meeting (APM) at the Parish Rooms. They heard that Everards Brewery had informed Rushcliffe Borough Council on 15th April of their intention sell the Air Hostess, who in turn informed Everards that Tollerton Parish Council (TPC) had previously registered the pub as an Asset of Community Value. This means Everards have to negotiate with TPC with a view to selling the Air Hostess as a community pub to the village. Attendees voted to have TPC explore purchasing the pub for the village.

A steering group of volunteers consisting of approximately 20 (mainly) villagers, who signed up following the APM has been formed.

This is being written 1 month on from the APM and there have been 2 further meetings. The first saw the steering group being split into sub-groups to address aspects of Governance and Compliance, Communication and Marketing (C&M), Commercial and Business Planning, and Negotiation.

There are 900 homes in Tollerton and clearly news of the sale has not reached everyone. The second meeting (of the C&M sub-group) considered the process of communicating to residents via the Village Event, the Village newsletter, the parish council website and social media. Focus was primarily on the Village event which occured the following week, on June 6th. Further work needs to done to develop social media communication.

At the Village Event many heard for the first time of the possibility of purchasing the pub for the community and filled in the survey. My impression was of much support for retaining the pub for the village, many thought provoking suggestions and some generous offers of practical help, tempered with a curiosity regarding how it might be made to work. Initially there are other residents to inform and we need further views – the survey is included with this newsletter. If the pub is purchased for the village it will be yours and we really need to hear as many constructive suggestions about changes you would like to see, from as many of you as possible. Please return completed surveys to Parma at the Post Office by July 20th.

I intend writing small articles like this in the newsletter, over the upcoming months to keep you informed. As new means of communicating with residents are developed, I will point you to them from here, but in the meantime please check for further detail on the Parish Council website at http://www.tollertonparishcouncil.gov.uk/

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