It’s now been just over two months since Ben has taken over the tenancy of The White House, and perhaps a good time for an update on progress. Trading over the summer period has been encouraging, and it has been good to see that the Thursday coffee mornings and the Wednesday night quiz are still going strong. These have been joined by a number of new initiatives to help broaden the appeal of the pub, such as the introduction of a hearty brunch menu on Saturday mornings, and the pub being open for drinks on Monday and Tuesday evenings. In addition to these, Ben is also keen to encourage more pub related games and activities during the week. The cribbage league has restarted on Monday evenings, and Robin Jones has organised a crib “taster” on the first Sunday afternoon of every month for people to try their hand at this fun card game. These sessions start at 4 pm and run for a couple of hours. On the second and fourth Tuesday of every month The White House will be hosting an open games night. A selection of board and card games will be brought along each week to choose from – and if you have something you’d like to play then bring it along! Gaming is free, starts at 6.30pm and continues to closing time. It’s open to all – families and children are very welcome, just drop in and leave whenever suits you. The next few dates will be:- Tuesday 27 September Tuesday 11 October Tuesday 25 October Tuesday 8 November Tuesday 22 November
Ben is also planning to put on more music events at The White House, and the next gig will be on Friday 30th September featuring Legends Rise, an excellent covers band that is making a return visit to the pub. The set is due to start at 8:30 pm, so if you are free why not kick off this weekend with some live music!
I have recently taken over as Chair of the Bladon Community Pub Management Committee from Mike Edwards, who has stepped down as Chair due to work commitments, but remains active on the committee. As a recent retiree I do fortunately now have more time to commit to this important role, and I am very happy to do so.
In my first communication to you the shareholders, I have to inform you that our current tenant, Johnny Roberts, has handed in his formal resignation, and will be leaving once he has completed an agreed period of notice. We have started the work of identifying his successor, and I will update you on progress as we go through this process. We are also working closely with Johnny to ensure that the handover to his replacement will be as smooth as possible, and with minimal disruption to trade.
On behalf of the committee, I would like to thank Johnny for all his efforts, in often very challenging circumstances, to re-establish the pub as a community asset to the village, and wish him and his family well for the future.
If you are not available this weekend, or have skills that would be better used on other aspects of the project such as hard landscaping, plumbing, plastering, building, making soft furnishings, please don’t worry about not being able to help this weekend. Due to social distancing we may not be able to have everyone who wants to help on site for this first job but there will be more opportunities to get involved in the coming weeks.
We are delighted to confirm that our offer to purchase the White House has now been approved by Greene King’s board.
What happens next?
We have prepared a job description and advert to attract a suitable tenant that shares the community’s values and vision for the pub. We have also identified suitable advertising channels.
In addition, we have received quotes from several building surveyors who will complete a full survey prior to purchase and are working with a local architect and structural engineer to see what might be feasible with regard to disabled access for the toilets, baby changing facilities and a secure garden.
We have also investigated suitable grants, application criteria and deadlines. We believe there are two grants that could assist with paying for part of the planned upgrades. These grants could offer 25% and 40% of total costs if we are successful, there is of course a lengthy application process and no guarantee we will be successful.
Once we are able to gain access to the pub, we plan to move swiftly on upgrading the current facilities and making sure that we can open as soon as is feasibly possible.
We cannot wait to raise a glass with you to celebrate Bladon’s community pub!
Are you self isolating? Do you need some help? You are not alone. A local network has been set up for us to help each other in these worrying times.
All households in Bladon and Woodstock should have received a leaflet through their letterbox. The leaflet gives contact details of local volunteers who will help those in self isolation or who just need help. Volunteers can collect groceries, pick up prescriptions, give you a friendly phone call or put you in touch with a qualified therapist to talk through your worries. There’s no cost for help.
We’ve submitted the Bladon Community Benefit Society bid to Greene King’s agents. All we can do now is cross our fingers and wait to hear.
Community spirit is alive and well in Bladon. We are so proud and humbled to be part of such a great community who has really pulled together to try and save the White House pub. Thank you to our 440 shareholders and all our supporters!