Following the public meeting on 4 April 2019, HOTV has come a long way. We prepared a Business Plan and a Share Prospectus, and had both validated for a Standard Mark by the Community Shares Unit. These were published at the start of the share offer in August. We held an informal drop-in meeting as promised on September 2, by which time the share offer was in full swing. The share offer reached it’s target of £200K in November, and was formally closed on 27 March 2020 having raised £207.910.
Meanwhile the Village Stores closed at the end of December but reopened in the Shop-in-a-Box by the Village Hall on 6 January 2020, where it will continue until it can be transferred into the Royal Oak. It has proved a particular boon to the village during the coronavirus lockdown, and thanks are due to all those who made this possible.
The intention was always to staff the shop with a large team of volunteers under a manager. The process of training volunteers was well under way when lockdown forced us to retreat to staffing by two part-time managers. Jo and Carolyn are doing a wonderful job, and will, we hope, continue to be involved when the volunteers are able to return.
Coronavirus also scuppered the original intention to hold our first Annual Members’ Meeting in April, but a postal election was organised, a public Zoom meeting was held on 15 June, and the first elected Management Committee met remotely on June 23. (Meeting minutes may be found on the Documents page.)
Buy the Royal Oak
Applications for grant funding were made in parallel with the share offer and will continue indefinitely. As of May 2020, sufficient funds were in place to permit us to proceed with the purchase of the Royal Oak, which has always been the principal aim of HOTV. After much debate, and taking into account all the known facts about the building, the state of the market and the trading prospects which are currently compromised by coronavirus restrictions, it was concluded that it was in the best interests of the Society (both financial and social) to proceed with the purchase, and a decision was take (5 in favour, 2 abstentions) to conclude the purchase as soon as possible, with a proposed completion date of 31 July 2020.
Work on the building
A working group has been set up to plan repair and refurbishment work on the Royal Oak, to begin as soon as we have full access. The priority is to prepare for the transfer of the shop. The intention is to transfer the shop seamlessly with minimal down-time, and to start trading from the pub soon thereafter in whatever form is then allowed. We will aim to keep this page (and the HOTV News page) updated as the work progresses and future plans become clearer.