Grants secured means cash raised is effectively doubled
Friends of the Greys, the group formed to take control of Brighton’s famous live music venue for the local community, is poised to make a cash offer for the pub.
Landlord Ei Group has set a February 1 deadline for bids for the freehold.
Although the Save the Greys crowdfunding campaign is still short of its target, additional grants and loan capital secured means a viable bid is now possible.
One match-funding grant means the current crowdfunding total – plus each and every new contribution, however large or small – will be worth double to the project.
Now Friends of the Greys is urging a final big push over the next few days to make sure the community has the best possible chance of making a winning bid, securing a working capital base, and going on to develop the pub into a long-term asset for the people of Hanover.
“Thanks to match-funding, every £1 of shares bought and small donations made will add £2 to the money we have,” said Friends of the Greys spokesman Keith Farmer. “Along with other grants and loans we have lined up, we are confident we can make a serious offer for the business – but every penny counts.
“If anyone has been thinking about buying shares, now is the time to do it. Turning the Greys into a community-owned pub and protecting and developing this much-loved music venue is a very real prospect.
“The pub could be ours. Now is the time to invest and make sure you’re a part of this exciting project.”
Brighton & Hove Council declared the pub an Asset of Community Value last summer, prompting a community campaign that has won wide support, including from Brighton Pavilion MP Caroline Lucas and Hanover councillors.
Other local pubs have also backed the bid, with Brighton Bierhaus raising £500 in one day at the Brighton Bier brewery tap on Eastern Road.
Performers at the Greys over the last 30 years have included Damien Rice, Georgie Fame, Martin Carthy, Shirley Collins, Julie Felix, John Otway, John Cooper-Clarke, Kiki Dee, Lene Lovich and Phill Jupitus, and touring musicians from all over the world still look forward to stopping off and playing before an intimate and knowledgeable audience.
Despite being so small that past licensee Mike Lance, who first established it as a music venue, called it “a shoebox”, the pub at times has also punched above its weight for food, with an Egon Ronay listing, and drink, boasting a selection of Belgian beers alongside its cask ales.
If Friends of the Greys is successful with its bid, the Greys will become one of Britain’s very few community-owned urban pubs – Brighton already lays claim to the first community-owned housing estate pub, the Bevy in Bevendean.
Shares can be bought and donations made on the Crowdfunder website: http://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/save-the-greys
For more information and to request an interview with Friends of the Greys, please contact:
Phil Mellows on 07940 968476