Villagers in Cocking, near Midhurst in the heart of the South Downs National Park, have got together to save its only pub, the Blue Bell, and turn it into a Community Hub for the benefit of the village and everyone enjoying the surrounding countryside including the South Downs Way, which is right on the doorstep.
We, Langham Brewery, will be producing a beer especially for the pub and will be holding a competition to ‘name that ale’. Choose the best name for an ale to be supped in The Blue Bell in Cocking! The winner of the chosen name wins a free tour of the brewery.
See the pinned post on our Facebook page to join in the fun.
The South Downs National Park is also supporting the project with a visitor centre in the Hub where ramblers, cyclists and all those visiting this beautiful area can discover more about the 1,627 sq km of stunning surrounding countryside with its historic sites, walks, trails and wildlife, as well as benefiting from the Hub facilities.
As the first Community Hub in the national park, it will include a relaxed, accessible venue where people of all ages can enjoy the pub, a restaurant and café, bed and breakfast, a shop, and eventually the Post Office when the post master retires.
All are determined not to lose these key assets for the community and to welcome all those visiting the South Downs including key destinations in the area – Goodwood, the Weald & Downland Living Museum, West Dean Gardens, Chichester and Pallant House Art Gallery are just a few.
The group behind the scheme is actively seeking a suitable tenant to run the Hub, to live on site and share in the vision for the pub to become a true social Hub, providing facilities and services that bring the community together and serve its visitors.
The Community Hub was launched after a possible housing scheme at the threatened pub was stopped and agreement reached to purchase the building from the current owner. A packed village meeting demonstrated support and a Community Benefit Society was set up to raise funds.
A Community Share Offer has been launched to help pay for the project and is already attracting support from locals and from those that visit. Pledges have already been received from some grant-giving bodies but £120,000 plus is needed through shareholding and crowdfunding.
To find out more and to support the project go to www.bluebellhub.org