FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
The Management Committee of the White Hart Community Inn Ltd have discussed and consulted on the proposals outlined in the Share Offer Prospectus with many villagers and potential investors.
There is considerable enthusiasm and support for the proposals and inevitably some questions. Some of the most common are addressed below.
WHY IS THIS BEING DONE?
The current owners want to sell, but there has been little interest in a private sale. Community consultation supports the idea of a community owned pub in the absence of anything else happening that would keep the pub at the heart of the village.
There are now over 90 community pubs across the UK using the same membership model. All of them are trading successfully and none have closed. You can be part of this movement that invests in local communities and provides local services. You also have the opportunity to drink in your very own community pub
HOW DO I BECOME A MEMBER OF WHITE HART COMMUNITY INN LTD?
Simply by completing the application form in the prospectus. Members are asked to invest a minimum of £200 up to a maximum of £20,000 (in multiples of £200). Each member will have an equal say irrespective of how much they invest. The initial directors that have formed the Society are accountable to the membership and will, in future, be elected by them. Members will receive a regular newsletter and they are encouraged to attend the Annual General Meeting and other special meetings that may be called from time to time. There are many more opportunities to get involved and participation is actively welcomed.
WHY SHOULD I BUY COMMUNITY SHARES?
We need your investment to help purchase the freehold of the White Hart. Without sufficient investment from the community we will be unable to re-open the pub.
HOW MUCH NEEDS TO BE RAISED?
We aim to raise £270,000 from shareholders. We have secured, or are in the process of securing, grants and loans to bridge the gap between the amount of investment anticipated and the sums required to purchase and re-open the White Hart.
If insufficient funds are raised to go ahead, investments will be returned with no loss to potential members and the purchase will not take place.
WHO WILL BENEFIT FROM THIS PROJECT?
The residents and friends of St Dogmaels will benefit directly from having a vital amenity preserved for future generations, both through the enjoyment of the pub but also because the pub will play a part in making St Dogmaels a stronger, more vibrant and cohesive community in which to live.
IS THIS A GOOD BUSINESS PROPOSITION?
We expect the business to be a profitable venture. We have carefully evaluated its strengths and weaknesses and our projections show that we can establish it as a successful business. It is well proven that communities that work together to set up such an enterprise will support it in the future. Of all the Community owned pubs none have failed to date.
WHAT WILL BE THE IMPACT OF COVID-19?
Our vision for the pub and operational plans remain the same. We hope to purchase the pub and re-open in 2021 but recognise that these are uncertain times. Clearly the next year or so are going to be challenging given the limitations placed on the hospitality industry by COVID-19. We feel that pursuing our share offer and allowing more members of our local and wider community to own a part of this historic pub will bring our vision for putting the pub back at the heart of our community even closer to becoming a reality.
WILL YOU BE PAYING A FAIR PRICE FOR THE WHITE HART?
We have had an independent valuation of the building and have opened dialogue with the owners and their Agents. You can be assured that we will attempt to achieve the best possible price and that reflects its worth to the community.
WHO ARE THE PEOPLE BEHIND THIS PROJECT? DO THEY HAVE A PERSONAL INTEREST?
The Management Committee consists of a group of local residents who care passionately about the White Hart, the social role of pubs and the cultural heritage. They will have no personal financial interest in the project, above and beyond their own investment in community shares. They have voluntarily contributed a large amount of time to the project and this has been supplemented with advice and considerable support from many people, professionals, and organisations.
WHO WILL RUN THE WHITE HART AND MAKE THE DAY-TO-DAY DECISIONS ABOUT THE BUSINESS?
The Management Committee will oversee the business. We intend to appoint an experienced pub manager to oversee the day-to-day running of the pub. Shareholders will be invited to meetings to discuss significant decisions about the White Hart.
Individuals as shareholders can participate through the legal mechanisms of Annual General Meetings or putting themselves forward as a board member.
DO MY SHARES GIVE ME VOTING RIGHTS?
Yes, they do. Everyone has an equal voice, regardless of the size of their investment.
HOW DO I GET MY MONEY BACK?
You will be unable to withdraw your shares in the first three years. After that, you will need to give at least three months’ notice. You cannot sell or transfer your shares, and withdrawals must be funded from surpluses or new capital raised from members.
WHAT IF MANY SHAREHOLDERS WANT TO WITHDRAW THEIR INVESTMENT AT THE SAME TIME?
The directors intend to sell shares and attract grant aid and loans that will allow the Society to buy the building. In subsequent years, the Society will aim to build up a reserve from the profits prior to payment of interest to shareholders. The reserve fund will be held in a separate account and will not be used to run or develop the business but to cover future liabilities and contingencies.
To allow for this, shareholders must agree not to withdraw funds for the first three years, to allow the business to establish itself. After that they will be required to give three months’ notice if they wish to withdraw shares.
If a shareholder gives notice that they wish to withdraw shares, then shares of the same value will be marketed and can be acquired by new or existing shareholders. Ideally, new shareholders from a waiting list will be found to replace those shares that are to be withdrawn and there may be a time limit on any refund to allow this to happen. If they cannot be replaced, then the reserve fund can be utilized.
WHAT HAPPENS IF THE PURCHASE OF THE WHITE HART FALLS THROUGH?
It is possible that we will be unable to complete the purchase. In the unlikely event that this happens we would then return any funds we have received, after deducting any remaining losses.
WHAT HAPPENS IF THE SHARE OFFER IS UNDER-SUBSRIBED?
If the minimum target is not achieved, we will review whether and how to proceed. We reserve the right to do so if the financial model remains viable, for example, if we have received additional donations of confirmation of grant funding.
WILL I GET MY INVESTMENT BACK IF THE WHITE HART FAILS?
All the business’s assets, including the freehold of the building, would be sold and the proceeds of the sale (after paying any creditors) divided between the shareholders up to the value of their shares. You might receive the full value of your shares back or you might lose part or all of your investment.
WILL I RECEIVE INTEREST FROM MY SHARES?
We aim to pay a reasonable interest rate to our members. Our business plan assumes we will pay3% interest, but this will always be dependent on the success of the business.
WILL MY INVESTMENT BE ELIGIBLE FOR TAX RELIEF?
This investment should be eligible for tax relief under the Social Investment Tax Relief (SITR), a new Government scheme devised to encourage investment in new social enterprises. This would mean that eligible taxpayers who purchase shares can apply for income tax relief equal to 30% of the amount they have invested, provided the shares are held for a minimum of three years.
We have received an Advance Assurance from HMRC that this Share Offer meets the requirements of the scheme.
ARE JOINT APPLICATIONS ALLOWED?
Yes, however, only the first named investor on the application form will be a member of the Society with voting rights. If, for example, a couple would both like to be members then each person should make a separate application.
CAN PEOPLE GROUP TOGETHER TO BUY SHARES?
No, shares must be held by a nominated person of a recognised group or corporate body
CAN MEMBERS PASS ON THEIR SHARES TO OTHERS?
No, shares can only be sold back to the Society at the price at which they were bought. The only circumstance in which they can be transferred is as part of your estate when you die or in the case of bankruptcy.
CAN I INVEST ON BEHALF OF MY CHILDREN OR GRANDCHILDREN?
Yes, so long as you are a member in your own right, and provided the total amount invested does not exceed the maximum investment amount. You will only have one vote, as is the case for any member. The shares can be transferred to them as soon as they reach 16 years of age.
WHO WILL HAVE ACCESS TO MY SHARE INVESTMENT INFORMATION?
Only those committee members who require access for the purposes of their committee role will have the visibility of the names of investors and the amount invested. The current Chair, Treasurer and the Membership Secretary will have access to this information.
WHEN WILL I RECEIVE CONFIRMATION OF MY SHARE PURCHASE?
You will receive a confirmation email from our Membership Secretary to let you know that the bank transfer or cheque has been received.
WHAT IS THE CURRENT LEVEL OF COMMITMENT TO BUY SHARES?
Regular updates are being shared through our mailing list, our website and our newsletter.
HOW CAN I FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THE PROJECT?
You can find our business plan, the Rules for our Society and further contact details at: www.whci.cymru
WHO SHOULD I SPEAK TO IF I HAVE ANY FURTHER QUESTIONS?
Please contact either:
Justin Walters (Chair) 07760 273822
Wyn Owen (Membership Secretary) 07384 311327
Or contact us by Email: email@example.com