Another big push…can you help?

After another busy week down at the White House we are rapidly progressing to meet our target opening date. Over the weekend our fantastic group of volunteers helped out with painting furniture, gardening, fencing and more cleaning. We had professional volunteers helping with plumbing, electrics, tiling, kitchen fitting and carpentry. A huge thank you to all of you!

In addition, the commercial kitchen and pub toilets have received a full professional deep clean and are now ready to go.

All that said, we still need your help! There will be another big push this weekend as we complete the transformation of the pub with a full repaint. And if you don’t fancy painting we have plenty of other jobs on the list 🙂

Please sign up on our volunteer form if you can spare some time –

Almost there!

Pub Works Update

Wow, what a difference a week makes! We have seen HUGE progress over the last seven days thanks to our army of volunteers and some local contractors. Here is an update on what’s been happening down at the Bladon Community Pub.

The Garden

The team from Nicholsons Garden Design, Landscaping and Forestry did an amazing job over two days taking down the four unsafe trees in the garden. Most of Bladon got to witness them at work, hair-raising stuff!

Even better, Nicholsons have kindly donated five new trees (fruit bearing), one more than we had to fell, as well as a collection of sleepers and over 60 plants. Thanks to our gardening volunteers we now have freshly planted beds and window boxes. Fantastic! We were also able to make use of some of the wood, as chips for the garden. The rest of the wood has gone to be chipped, providing fuel for a biomass energy plant.

Other jobs in the garden included renovating and repainting the decking at the front of the pub, moving and fitting new fencing, and sanding and painting the last of the outdoor furniture.

The newly cleared garden area with fresh chips and new trees.

The Building

However, there is more to do than just the garden and the building also received some TLC. The pub chimney was fitted with a new flue liner, making it safe to operate the wood burning stove again, ready for winter. The tenant’s accommodation had a makeover, getting repainted throughout. Finally we have started work on renovating the pub interior, beginning with the furniture.

What’s Next?

Now our attention turns to the pub itself as we countdown to opening. Over the next two weeks the following jobs will be completed:

  • Seeding the bare areas of the garden, finishing off the fencing and giving the gardent a final tidy
  • Fitting a new kitchen to the tenant’s accommodation
  • Cleaning carpets and flooring throughout
  • Painting the pub – chairs, tables and front of house
  • Commercial deep cleaning of the pub kitchen and toilets
  • Preparation of the cellar – getting ready for beer!

Volunteers Needed!

As before, we are keeping our volunteer form updated with the time slots where we need help. Please fill in your details if you can help out.

Nearly there!

Meet the Landlord!

Great news, we have the exciting update that we have now appointed a tenant.  If everything goes to plan The White House will be open in early October. There is still lots to do. We need your help to get the final jobs completed so please sign up below and look out for emails and social media announcements.  It feels like all of the hard work is about to pay off!

After a very thorough recruitment process we are very pleased to announce that Johnny Roberts will be our tenant.  Johnny wanted to introduce himself, so here he is!


“My name is John Roberts but everybody calls me Johnny. I was born in Oxford and lived here for 18 years before moving to Kingston upon Thames to study Marketing. My partner Francesca and little boy Ruben are both excited for this new adventure in Bladon, integrating with the fantastic community. We are proud to call Bladon our new home. I started working in pubs while I was at University in Kingston upon Thames. I immediately fell in love with the social aspect of working in the food and drinks industry, getting to know new people and listening to the stories they have to share. It wasn’t until my return to Oxford in 2018, and a management promotion, that I started developing a passion for Food and Drink, especially Real Ale and craft beer.

The last few years I have homed in on Real Ale and really bonded with the brewing community and CAMRA (campaign for real ale) here in Oxford. I’ve developed a burning passion for supporting local breweries and my hard work and passion has been on display at The Four Candles, George Street.

I remember reading the story of the Bladon Community Pub on social media and being completely inspired by the hard work and dedication from the community to save their local pub. I instantly fell in love with the idea and wanted to be a part of this fantastic project. The buzz and excitement for The White House is so inspiring and it will be an absolute pleasure to represent this great pub as the tenant alongside my Head Chef David Fowler.

We aim to create â€˜more than just a pub’ at The White House, bringing the pub and the community closer together. In my opinion the pub is a very important aspect of village life, it should serve the community and be a focal point for everyone to enjoy. Creating the perfect balance is an exciting opportunity for me and my team, we will combine Café style food for the morning and afternoons with a combination of wholesome pub classics and finer dining in the evenings. But let’s not forget about the Sunday Roasts that will be a prominent feature of our menu. It’s important for me to keep things local, from the guest ales and craft beers, to the food on the menu, we pledge to keep things as local as possible wherever possible. So, if you like locally sourced meat and beers from your favourite brewers here in Oxfordshire, then I look forward to welcoming you at The White House (hopefully very soon!).”

We cannot wait to open the doors of The White House and make it a central part of Bladon life for all of the community, but we need your help. There is a lot to do to prepare The White House for opening.  Please sign up here to volunteer and keep an eye out for emails with further details.

https://bladoncommunitypub.org/volunteers-weekly

The Big Pub Clear Up Continues!

As we move steadily towards opening there are still many jobs we need to complete and we need your help! Jobs to complete include further site tidying, cleaning, painting, groundworks, light gardening, planting – basically all sorts of things needing all sorts of skills. We would love to get as many of you involved as possible, it will speed things along and also allow you to see what is happening down on site.

There are some areas where we need to bring in professionals. That means for the next few weeks we will be limiting volunteer access to site to weekends.

Every week we will post updates through email and social media on what is needed. The place to get involved is at the volunteer sign-up form which will be updated weekly. We are keeping the slots short to make them manageable, but if you have more time then feel free to sign up to multiple slots. However, please do not come to site without first getting in touch and receiving confirmation, we need to keep track of numbers and maintain safe social distancing.

This is the exciting part and we can’t wait to see you!

Share Offer Re-opened!

We have had continued interest from those that missed the chance to invest during the initial share offering. We are therefore pleased to announce that we have re-opened the share offer. The share offer will now stay open until we hit our originally specified maximum target of £515,000.

With all your great support we raised enough money to buy the pub, but there are still many improvements we would like to make to the site. Further funding will also provide us with a welcome buffer during the uncertain times that we are currently operating under. Any money invested now will be used to continue renovations as we prepare for opening or to fund future enhancements to the site.

If you want to support us via investment or donation please follow the links below.

As always, thank you!

More Than a Pub

The White House has enormous potential and could be a social hub for the village offering a whole host of services.  We’ve listened to what you asked for and are committed to making it happen.

  • Daytime café
  • Essentials shop
  • Parking for school parents
  • Wellness clinic
  • Coffee morning for older people
  • Support group for people with dementia and their carers
  • Child-friendly community garden
  • Meeting point for village groups – walking / running / book club / knitting / bridge…
  • Disabled toilet access and baby changing

Share Offer Extended 
We’ve extended the share offer until 14th February. Please purchase shares or increase your investment using the share application form.

How are Community Pubs Run?

Once the buying of the building is complete there are three common options for the running of a community pub:

  1. Tenant Run
  2. Manager Run
  3. Community Run

Each approach has its own merits and each has an influence on the level of business risk and time investment required from the community.

Tenant Run

Under this model, the pub is let to a tenant landlord who runs the business independently.  The Community Benefit Society, which owns the pub, would receive an annual rental income.  This means there is a predictable annual income for the Society, immune to potential fluctuations in operating income. The financial risk for operating the pub belongs to the tenant, including the ability to profit from periods of success. If any debts are incurred, these are also the responsibility of the tenant. 

In terms of the day-to-day running of the pub, this is the responsibility of the tenant and under their control.  The Society can have an influence by making provisions in the lease related to aspects of the running of the pub.  For example, some community pubs in Oxfordshire stipulate agreed opening hours, or the agreement for the pub to a monthly community event of their choosing.  It would also be expected that an incoming landlord would listen to the preferences of the surrounding local community.  The recent community consultation and survey outlined clearly what the village would like to see from a local pub.

Having a tenant in place reduces the required involvement from the Society, both in terms of time and money. Tenants can bring valuable expertise in the pub trade. Of course it does mean that a suitable tenant needs to be found and retained.  However, the visible backing of the village provides a strong indicator of the potential success for the business and therefore its attractiveness to potential tenants.

Manager Run

In this scenario, the Society would hire a manager to run the pub. The manager would employ additional staff and handle the day-to-day running of the pub, under the guidance of the Society.  With this operating model, the Society would have more control and input into the running of the pub, however this would come at the cost of greater financial exposure and a larger investment of time. In addition to costs related to employment, the Society would also be required to initially fund the business until it became self-sustaining.  Additionally, any downturn in profits due to lower custom or higher than expected expenses would directly impact the finances and therefore viability of the Society.

Community Run

In this scenario, the community would actively run the pub on a volunteer business. All costs associated with the running of the pub would be borne by the Society and staffing costs would either be minimal or non-existent. This model does however require a large ongoing investment of time from the community, as well as access to requisite skills to run a successful pub business. It may be more suitable for smaller settlements where the pub may be serving multiple functions or only be open at reduced hours.

Which Model is Right?

As can be seen, each model has its place and ultimately the right choice will depend on the pub itself and the surrounding community that it serves. The majority of community pubs in the UK have so far followed the route of finding a tenant or a manager. In the case of the White House, the Society believes that the tenanted model provides the lowest risk starting point with the least impact on the community. However, this does not mean to say the community can’t get involved. Indeed, there will be a great need for the volunteering of time and skills in order to get the pub up and running in the first place.

Whichever model is chosen, it is worth noting that 100% of the UK’s community pubs continue to survive and thrive.

Ultimately the ongoing support of the community through regular usage of the pub will be more important to its success than the initial choice of operating model.

Now That I’ve Invested, How Can I Help?

Thanks to the support of the community we have already made a great start on our share offer! If you have already invested you may still be wondering how else you can help? Below our some ideas on how you can help us meet our goal.

Tell Your Friends! 

If you have already invested, please let people know why and encourage them to do the same. There are many reasons why someone would invest and it is not all about going to the pub! We are running numerous drop-in sessions to allow people to meet the committee and get answers to any questions they may still have.

Upcoming drop-in sessions

  • Saturday 18th January, 10am-2pm – Bladon Church Rooms
  • Tuesday 21st January, 6pm-9pm – The White House, Bladon

Spread Our Message Online

Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.  Like, share and comment on our posts – the more interaction we receive on our posts the more visibility we will get.  Share details of our web site with friends, relatives, colleagues and anyone you know who might be willing to invest. Remember, you don’t need to live in the village to invest.

Twitter – @bladon_pub

Facebook – www.facebook.com/groups/bladoncommunitypub/

Get Involved Directly

Dedicating some time to the campaign is a great way to understand more about what we are doing. It is also a sociable and fun way to meet other local residents while giving something back to your community. 

We still have a lot that needs doing, from organising awareness & fund-raising events, spreading the word through leaflet drops or contributing expertise if you have specific skills.  We need ongoing support in many areas, including:

  • Fundraising
  • Property management
  • Building & renovation
  • Hospitality
  • Legal
  • Accountancy

If you are concerned about time commitment then don’t be, there is no minimum requirement and there are many bite-size opportunities you can support.

Keep Updated With Our Progress and Support Our Events

Sign-up to our email list to receive regular updates on progress and details of future community events which we are planning.

Watch Again – Share Offer Launch!

We had a great turnout at the Jingle and Mingle event on Friday 13th December and took the opportunity to share the exciting news of our share offer launch! Thanks so much to all who came along to join in the fun.

Shares are now available to purchase for you and your family, or as a gift. But if you would prefer to simply donate, we have also opened a new crowdfunder campaign. Whichever way you choose to get involved, time is of the essence. We have just 6 weeks to complete our share offering and make this bid work. The time is now and we need your support!

For those that were unable to make it last Friday, never fear, you can re-watch our latest update and see the official launch of the share offer here –

Share offer open – 13th December 2019 – 31st January 2020