The White House has been at the heart of Bladon community since the 17th Century and is the last remaining pub and community facility in the village. It is also the pub where Winston Churchill “learnt to drink” during his time at Blenheim Palace. With a growing population of just under 1,000 residents and thousands of visiting tourists, Bladon needs this important and historic pub. The White House has enormous potential and could be a social hub for the village offering a whole host of services.
The pub was put on the open market in September 2019. Following the successful application to denote the White House as an Asset of Community Value, the community had six months to put in a bid to buy and manage the future of the pub. In the UK, more than 100 pubs have been taken over by the community and every one of them continues to thrive.
We worked with a number of successful community pub groups, including the Abingdon Arms in Beckley, to gain insight into the challenges and opportunities ahead. We also joined the Plunkett Foundation who worked with us to develop a business plan and share offer.
We held two community consultations and were delighted by the support for the bid – view the presentation slides and a video from the second consultation. At the consultation there were some fantastic ideas about how we can put the pub back at the heart of the community and 112 investment pledges. Since the meeting we have also conducted an online and paper survey to find out what people want from Bladon Community Pub.
In December 2019, we held a Jingle Mingle social event where we formally launched the pub share offer. This was followed a Razzle Dazzle social event in January 2020. These events were attended by over 150 people from across the community and gave everyone a flavour of what the community-owned pub could be like.
In March 2020, we had our application for the Plunkett Foundation’s More Than A Pub grant/loan approved. At share offer close we had 440 shareholders and had raised enough money to make a strong bid to purchase 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.