I'm a long standing publican, a founder of the Fair Pint Campaign and my parents, Roy and Marjory Dodds, live in Belford. They moved to Belford from Morpeth, where I grew up, in 1980, when I was at college. So; I've never lived in the village but have been visiting for over thirty years and know the area well. Many of my chikldren's holidays have been spent there. Visiting Hobby Horse has been one of the highlights of their growing up. My interests in the Black Swan are stimulated by a professional knowledge of the pub sector and by knowing, and caring for Belford a lot. I was interested in buying the freehold of the Black Swan in the late 1980's when I managed a high profile night club in Mayfair but my girlfriend at the time, who was from Oxford and was trained by Raymond Blanc and head chef at the club, did not want to move so far from her own family and world in the south. So. I have watched the fortunes of this particular pub with great interest backed by a lot of industry knowledge for a very long time...
I'm working on setting up a cooperatively owned pub company to buy pubs on a relatively large scale and run them as a managed chain. It's called The People's Pub Partnership www.peoplespubpartnership.org
What is unusual about Belford is that the village still has three pubs and also has a members' club and the golf club. Apart from the cafe and the farm shop. However the Black Swan clearly represents an opportunity to have some very interesting things happen in the village that otherwise will never come around. ON the face of it the Black Swan could very well fit in with the ambitions of BEST - Belford Energy Saving Together which include creating jobs in the area.
To me, from a distance, the Black Swan looks like a great starter but obviously it's for Belford to decide. Here's some info that may help.
About twenty communities around Britain have successfully bought their pub and turned it round. I'll post some examples here for people in Belford to have a look at out of interest. Different communities have done different things with their pubs:
Here are three pubs where it is all just happening now:
And there's more
The Bell in Bath have done a lot of work on their money raising:
Bell Share Offer Application Form: http://db.tt/NGMnHSdB
Bell Share Offer Document: http://db.tt/f2IpeWFf
Hope this is not too much information in one go.