Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Lewisham Awakes

Well. Hmmm. There's a way to go. But compared to Camberwell...

Text from LinkedIn post as Form introduction to new small business networking group.

Hello - good to be here.  Please excuse the length of where I am'. It's to set context for why the business is what it is.

1) Based in Camberwell, London SE5 where I had a busy, successful, award winning pub, The Sun and Doves, for 16 years from 1995. It was widely considered a pioneering 'gastro pub'.  Originally I'm from Newcastle Upon Tyne.

I was evicted from the pub, bankrupted and made homeless in 2011 owing S&N pub company £200K back rent and legals from a 2005 rent review which I lost in 2009 following years in arbitration and High Court.  Since then I've been researching and planning a substantial Social Business set up, of which more below, and campaigning full time.  My experiences of working in 'partnership with a pubco led me to become a pub sector 'expert' and a vociferous anti tied pubco campaigner.  In 2008 I was a founder of the Fair Pint Campaign which lobbied government to abolish the beer tie and led to several Select Committee investigations into the relationship between pubco's and their tenants, The outcomes of the hearings link mass pub closures with abuse of the beer tie and prompted Business Innovation and Skills to announce its intention to introduce regulation in the pub sector and to consult nationally on what shape this should take.

Currently I admin Licensees Supporting Licensees a growing Facebook forum of publicans who help each other through the group page.  LSL is part of, recently formed jointly by organisations concerned to see a free and fair market for pubs and publicans.  Headed up by Campaign for Real Ale; Federation of Small Businesses and the Forum for Private Business, FDFYL was formed to "demand a fair deal for pubs and to stop the exploitation of licensees by large pub companies".  We worked to raise awareness of the govt pubco consultation process which closed on 14 June.  The consultation received 7000 email and 1200 postal submissions - an apparently unprecedented response to such a process.  FDFYL will remain a very active group at least until the outcome of consultation is published this Autumn.

2) My business is The People's Pub Partnership  It's a substantial project that has been many years in formation.   It’s a radical, uncompromising crowd-funded low environmental impact pub company; Putting pubs at the heart of the community.  Mutually owned by its staff and investors; local supply chain; with involvement in craft brewing and cider making.   It's a simple proposal in principle - to raise large amounts of patient capital from a population increasingly alarmed by what is happening to pubs all over the UK.  The business is approaching investment readiness, in discussion with crowd funds, not yet trading.  It will buy pub freeholds, retrofit them to the highest environmental standards with co-generation on site so they operate fully without gas or fossil fuels. Implement sympathetic refurbishments, stock them with products that are local source or from efficient, low environmental impact supply chains.  The products will be served by willing and well informed staff who will become partners under a John Lewis form of constitution.  PPP is the subject of a paper being submitted to the upcoming Beeronomics conference

3) The best thing I’ve done this year for PPP is draw a remarkable Board of Advisors together to help steer and oversee PPP.  It is a Board unlike any other in the pub sector: Thought leaders expert in areas appropriate to the work of building substantial sustainable Social Capital out of pubs and communities that PPP proposes do.  Now we're looking for a hard hitting FD with the vision and CV to take this extraordinary proposition to market, passionate to co create a revolution in the pub sector.

4)  I currently crave crayfish and rocket with lemon Mayonnaise between thick sliced, soft seeded brown bread.

Hope I can contribute well to the group.

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