You know me, I like to talk. And I've talked to a lot of you recently. What I've noticed is there's a few rumours going around so here's a quick run-down of the most recent and popular along with my responses.
Rumour: The owners won't sell to the community.
Untrue. Yes, they will. I've asked them. Not unreasonably we have to raise the money to purchase. Now you know this as fact, you can pledge. Half a dozen more pledges will make all the difference.
Rumour: The Crown is sold/under offer/off the market.
Untrue. No it isn't. Not yet. See above.
Rumour: This is a 'one-man crusade'.
Untrue. Over the past few months this phrase has cropped up a few times. Clearly those that have said it don't realise the amount of dedicated volunteers it takes to plan, host and work at any fundraising event. If you think I'm doing all this by myself then you need to take a good look around and perhaps even get involved; volunteer, donate, pledge. Besides, the Crusades were a disaster. To my knowledge we've caused a few hangovers but no-one's died.
I've also been asked 'What's in it for you?' Like I'm doing this for financial gain. If the project is successful I'll get to enjoy the occasional pint or meal at our community local. Same as you. Profits from a community pub will be recycled back into the community: a positive outcome for a growing, thriving Northwold. In fact, it's costing me more than I could possibly hope to get out of it but that's another story for another time.
Rumour: You just want to own a pub.
Untrue: Seriously, I don't even want to work in a pub. I see the potential for employment in the village - for those starting out and for those who want to make a career in hospitality - but it's not for me. Have you seen the size of our team? There are significant job opportunities in the making here but I prefer the customer side of the bar, as do the committee and the volunteers. I suspect we'll be the first customers.
Rumour: People in Northwold don't know what they want.
Untrue: We've asked them and yes, they do and they've demonstrated it clearly. Pledges, surveys and attendance at public meetings have shown demand. To suggest we're a fickle bunch and that in six months time we'll want something else is an insult. Any business manager knows that customers' needs change; good businesses adapt, others die. A lack of custom is not the customer's fault.
Rumour: The pub and social club will be in competition.
Untrue: Both venues offer something different. Some customers will prefer the club, some the pub and some will enjoy both. The two venues are each unique and will continue to offer different atmospheres, entertainment, clubs and alcohol. We've been careful to time our events not to clash with the social club but even when clashes have happened both venues have had record numbers through the door! The sum, they say, is greater than the whole. This is not an either/or choice but if Northwold is left with only one venue we'll have very little choice at all.
I hope that by putting a few of these thoughts to bed that it will spur a few more people to take the plunge and pledge. The success of this project depends upon it. If you have pledged already, maybe you'd consider increasing the amount and telling your friends how well we're doing and how much of a difference this project can make. Remember, there could be significant tax relief and our task to safeguard the Crown will create a number of local jobs. It will additionally help support property prices as well as provide a place to meet, to entertain in and to be proud of. If you haven't yet pledged, think back over the last few weeks and see what our community can achieve when we all pull together. We are closing in on our target and now is the time we are asking everyone to step up to the plate and help us make this happen.
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