Well, well, well

Building work is now well underway at our pub with some of the accompanying noise, mess and disruption however,Johnny is still fully open for business and the warm weather has finally decided to make an appearance.

These pictures are of what was once our cellar. Under the back wall the builders found an old well. Johnny was all up for tapping into it and using it to brew our own White House beer. However, the reality is it put work on hold for a while but things are now moving forward again. Following our well discovery the cellar floor was dug up revealing, yes another floor below. That was lifted by the digger and naturally we exposed a third floor. No wonder the roof in that old cellar was so low! The builders are now over a foot lower than they expected and the concrete requirement is doubling with every new level discovered.

Meanwhile, at the front you may have seen progress on the extension of our new cellar behind the temporary toilet. We hope this will be completed first and put straight into use. Storage is a huge issue for Johnny as you can see by the requirement for the temporary shed that has arrived at the car park and the need to use every nook, cranny and corner.

We appreciate the temporary toilets are not ideal however, many have said they are better than the old Gents! We are trying to keep the additional mess and noise down to a minimum. Work scheduled to be completed before opening hours has occasionally overrun. That has seen a live electric cable being cut during lunch service, the volunteers boring holes in the pub wall for 3 hours achieving break through as the first customers arrived, and our ancient plumbing system springing a leak under the bar requiring an emergency call out as the pipe in questioned threatened to turn into a showerhead at the slightest touch. 

No doubt there will be more unexpected issues as we progress so we ask for your continued understanding but it will be worth the wait. We will put up a large copy of the building plans to show what awaits us all when this work is finally completed.

To steal the words of the man who had his drinking education in our pub, these works are not the beginning of the end. They are only the end of the beginning. The pub has never been tested to this degree before in terms of food and drink preparation, storage and consumption. For example, one area we will need to address is the electric supply. As the name suggests The White House was just a simple house and has the single phase electricity supply you would expect for a house. Any commercial operation needs a 3 phase supply to stop the constant tripping of the electrics. We are getting quotes for this work and will put a roadmap together of how we hope to progress with dragging our pub’s infrastructure into the 21st century over the coming years whilst keeping the originality and character of our historic pub.

Enjoy the weather and see you in our pub garden

The time has come. Our pub is reopening!

Finally we are just days away from being able to sit (outside) our pub and have a drink!!
 
There has been a hive of activity to get ready for opening but also in preparation to carry out the most ambitious upgrade the pub has seen for decades.
 
Johnny has sent out updates of his plans and will continue to do so as we open outside and then plan for reopening of the inside. You will see his team, with volunteers, have made our White House, white once again!
 
Last weekend we had a fantastic turn out of volunteers and under Liz Owen’s leadership we have transformed our pub’s outside areas. 

Under the guidance of Andy Goodwin from Willow Coppice in Eynsham, and Justen Hyde as his apprentice, we now have 3 stunning willow fences. Thanks to all who lent a blistered hand in creating something of real beauty. All made from natural materials gathered and prepared by volunteers over 2 weekends. Thanks to Ross in Eynsham for letting us have the willow and bringing it to the pub in 4 trailer loads.


The “John Anson” top lawn, where previously there was nothing but mud, is now a luscious green. Tables will be placed there, awaiting us to use in the (hopefully) blazing spring sunshine. Justen and his team of workers have built a brilliant set of spiral stairs up to the lawn. In time, the far corner will have the addition of some children’s play equipment.


 
Over the weekend the volunteers cleared all the bark chipping and levelled the areas. Now with some garden membrane down and re-barked, we should have space for level, weed free eating and drinking complete with new flag stones leading up from the pub.
 
The very annoying, and messy, bank of “kitty litter” out the front has been wheelbarrowed away, levelled and slate chipping laid for a brand new seating area. All of the outdoor seating has been scrubbed, sanded down and repainted by our fabulous team of volunteers.

Nolan and Sarah have done a great job out front and are awaiting delivery of our wooden trellis (held up in the Suez canal??!) to provide a little more privacy and sound insulation for those sitting at the front of the pub. However it did highlight the bulge in our front wall. A long-time resident told me it was caused a decade or two ago when a lorry managed to hit it. If you have walked past recently you will see we now have a nice, missing section awaiting the rebuild. Liz and Justen will be leading a small team, under the guidance of Richard from our village, to have the wall back up ready for Monday’s opening.

Last but not least, for the garden we have Pete the Pergola supplying his time at a much reduced rate to erect two pergolas. They will cover the top patio areas with sailcloth strung up to provide shelter from rain or blazing sun but easily unclipped when you want to capture the weaker sun’s rays.

As you know we are just awaiting planning permission from WODC to carry out our building work that will include all upgraded toilet facilities as well as a new disabled toilet and baby changing facilities. This will mean that from the start of the work we will not have use of the pub’s toilet facilities. When the time comes we have arranged a good quality, temporary toilet trailer parked at the front corner of the building so we can make use of the buildings sanitation facilities. It will only be a short dash from the front door to our temporary Ladies and Gents. When the work is completed it will be a great improvement inside for the long term future of our pub so we do ask for your understanding during this time.
 
So, we are definitely on countdown now to using our pub again. It may be a few weeks of wrapping up warm but hopefully we will get some of that fabulous weather we had last year. And I can finally say: “See you down the pub next week for a drink”. That sounds good doesn’t it!

The White House Community Kitchen

The Bladon Community Benefit Society are opening The White House Community Kitchen in order to provide free hot food to local people who need support in Bladon and the surrounding villages. In conjunction with the #endchildfoodpoverty campaign we have seen that there is a real need to provide a hot nutritious meal to the vulnerable in our local area. This pandemic has hit those who are most vulnerable incredibly hard, so we aim to provide a free hot meal to anyone who needs it, young or old. No one should go to bed hungry or worry where their next meal is coming from.

We have applied for grant funding but this is not guaranteed, so in order to start providing this service we have set up this crowdfunding page to support our efforts. All donations are very welcome.

Every £5 you give provides someone with a free hot meal delivered to their door, so we really are incredibly grateful for any money you can spare. The fantastic team at the White House pub, along with volunteers, will be able to cook and deliver a hot meal to those who are vulnerable or unable to get out to buy food. Please visit https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/the-white-house-community-kitchen to donate.

If you know someone who could benefit from this service or you are that person, please contact bladoncommunitypub@gmail.com or speak to Johnny directly at The White House Pub on 07415 183899.

Thank you for your support.

Bladon Community Benefit Society

A message from Johnny

Dear Residents of Bladon, Pub Shareholders, Volunteers and Pub Go-Ers!

I would like to personally thank each and every one of you for your continued support during my first month of trading as The White House.

My first month in Bladon has been an absolutely fantastic experience. I have made so many new friends, and have met so many great people! We can’t wait to open our doors again to you all again. I really have been welcomed into this fantastic community and me and my family are proud to be a part of it and proud to live in Bladon.

We have lots of new and exciting beers coming soon. We have taken this lockdown and have used it to our advantage. The beer lines have been replaced to ensure the maximum quality in every pint to better your experience. We have 5 Brand new beers being installed on a new bar giving you 14 Draught Beers to choose from, and the cellar has had a new cooler installed to keep those draught temperatures perfect!

Thank you to everyone that has been patient with me and my team this past month. The first month is always a tricky one, but it has allowed me to learn the trends of the community, the correct stock levels, food preparation levels and so on… (I’m sure the wine drinkers will understand what I mean about stock levels!). Thank you to you all for the continued feedback, we are a community pub, and listening to the community and its needs is so important to us. I welcome feedback good or bad at any time. Please if anyone ever has a concern or question just pop over and we can have a chat, or feel free to call or email (thewhitehousebladon@hotmail.com).

We have our first week of takeaways under our belt so a massive thank you to those who have continued to support us during lockdown and ordered a meal, or pint or even a pack of toilet roll- every order helps regardless of size or cost!

Events

Don’t forget the White House Quiz Saturday 14th November at 19:30 the zoom link will be posted on all platforms tomorrow at 3pm. Donations are welcomed via our ‘gofund me’ https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/thewhitehousebladon

You can join the quiz on Zoom on the following link 
https://us05web.zoom.us/j/7692773778?pwd=Y2dGemZUd3ZuMWN1SUpBdm5jNnNZUT09

Meeting ID: 769 277 3778
Passcode: TWH1

A bottle of ‘White House Red is given to the winners!

We look forward to seeing you!!

The Car Park

I would also like to use this time to address a concern in the village:

I fully understand the importance of the car park to Bladon and especially to those who collect their children at the school. I am in full support of the school and I will use the White House facilities to help the village of Bladon in any way, shape or form.

The White House must do its bit to support the community and those in it. On occasion its use has been abused by those travelling into Bladon to visit Blenheim, and this has caused us concern. Inconsiderate parking has stopped the pub bins from being collected twice now and on one occasion I was blocked in and couldn’t leave the car park to collect our son from nursery. In conjunction with the Bladon Community Benefit Society Committee, we are trying to come up with solutions for the future that will in no way negatively affect anyone who currently uses the car park for the school run. I am a firm believer in the community and the community must always come first! Please do come and have a chat with me if you ever experience any difficulties with parking.

We look forward to welcoming you all back very soon!

Kind regards,

Johnny Roberts
The White House

Future plans

Can you believe it has been a month since The White House re-opened as a community pub! It has been great to see so many people enjoying themselves and using the pub again, from coffee and croissants to an evening meal and a few drinks. 

As owners of the pub, the community has an amazing opportunity to further develop the building and its surroundings.  Please click here to see some of what we would like to achieve in 2021.

The White House is open :)

It has been 15 months since our first community consultation, and after an unbelievable level of generosity from our shareholders, an amazing amount of work from our volunteers and support from many local businesses, it is with a huge sense of pride we are able to announce The White House will re-open on Friday 9th October at 10am..

Our new tenant, Johnny Roberts, will be open seven days a week and now has his own website, facebook and instagram pages where you will find all the information you need.

If you are planning a visit we highly recommend booking a table through one of the following channels:

Website: www.bladonwhitehouse.co.uk/

Telephone: 01993811288

Facebook: @thewhitehousebladon

Email: thewhitehouse@hotmail.com



The Big Clear Up

Do you want to volunteer for the White House BIG CLEAR UP on Saturday and Sunday 25/26th July?

Some of the things we would like to do first are listed below:

  • Sand and paint outdoor furniture. Ideally by taking it home, sanding down and painting (paint supplied)
  • Clear garden (weeding, sweeping, some heavy lifting)
  • Pressure washing paving

There will be a small amount of heavy lifting, but mostly it will involve a good clear up. We would ask that you bring your own equipment if you can (gloves, brooms, trowels etc.).

We need to ensure that we adhere to social distancing and that we do not have too many people on site at any one time, so it is essential that we co-ordinate working groups.

The days will be split into three hour shifts:

  • Saturday 25th July, 10 a.m.- 1 p.m.
  • Saturday 25th July, 2 p.m.- 5 p.m.
  • Sunday 26th July, 2 p.m.- 5 p.m.
  • Sunday 26th July, 10 a.m.- 1 p.m.

Please let us know your availability and slot preferences here: https://bladoncommunitypub.org/volunteers-weekly and we will be in touch with confirmation of when we need you. Please only attend if you receive email confirmation from us.

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.

Share Offer Reopened

We have been asked whether it is still possible to buy shares in the White House and the answer is YES!

We’ve restarted our share offer and you can now buy shares up until 31st July 2020. All funds raised will be used to improve the fabric of the building and bring community services to life.

There’s also a Crowdfunder donate option.

Be part of something amazing and own a part of history by becoming a White House shareholder.

Greene King’s Board Has Approved Bladon’s Purchase of the White House

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!