Meeting reminder

For shareholders who have not read their emails, just a short reminder of the shareholders’ meeting at the Village Hall at 7.30pm on 4th September.

The meeting is open to all Brook Inn shareholders plus their partners but do please bring identification as some voting on corporate governance will take place. If you are planning to attend can you confirm numbers to info@backthebrook.co.uk.

Meanwhile we are still on course to take over ownership of the pub next Tuesday the 26th…so fingers crossed there are no last minute hiccups.

The committee

Opening times

We are still on course to take over the pub next Tuesday, 26th August – provided all goes to plan.

However if it does, the Brook Inn will be closed for a couple of days as the transfer from Punch Taverns takes shape. There’s a lot needed to be done behind the scenes so please bear with us as those tasks are completed.

New landlord David Clarke will therefore open for food and drink at midday on Friday 29th with future opening hours mirroring the current ones. We are aiming for evolution rather than revolution so change will be gradual rather than instant but the future looks bright for the Brook Inn.

Cheers for now

 

New landlord

After a lengthy recruitment process, Back the Brook Ltd is pleased to announce a new, permanent landlord for the pub. His name is David Clarke who has extensive experience in the pub trade and will start his new post on the 26th August – the date due for completion on the pub.

We received nearly 50 inquiries for the manager’s post and the final pool of candidates for interview were very strong but we felt David was the ideal person for the job.

David is married to Jean and has a daughter Amy, both of whom will become familiar faces at the pub where they will live. I’m sure you will welcome them into village life and wish them best of luck in the new venture.

We would also like to thank current landlord Alan Tolfrey for his excellent stewardship of the Brook Inn in what has been a testing period for the pub. He has maintained and enhanced a strong reputation for the Brook Inn, making it must-go destination for food. We thank him again and wish him luck at his new pub in Hadleigh.

The committee

David Clarke

David Clarke

 

Completion date

Further to emails to shareholders, we have received confirmation from Punch Taverns that we will complete the purchase of the Brook Inn on 26th August having recently exchanged contracts.

The committee

Goings-on update

Just a short note to give an update on what’s happening with the pub purchase.

We are continuing to interview for a manager for the Brook and hope to make a decision by next Friday.

Accountant David Lincoln from the village has come forward to fill the gap vacated by George Wiseman who was forced to stand aside because of illness.

David brings a wealth of accountancy experience to the committee and will help steer the purchase and the inevitable turbulence once we take over the running of the pub – so welcome to him.

As we near D-Day, we felt it was time to bring more formality to proceedings based on board of directors’ decisions rather than just a committee as is required under company law.

Up until now, Back the Brook Ltd has had three nominal directors: Ian Evans, Alan, Amphlett Lewis and George Wiseman who have all been at most of the public meetings. Those three are also co-signatories on the company bank account at Barclays (each cheque needing two of the three signatories).

Because George has had to stand down, Ian and Alan decided to bring more directors on board – parish council chairman Keith Armes, Andrew Burl and David Lincoln who will also be co-signatories on the bank account. The decision taken on Thursday will have immediate effect.

However, once the purchase has taken place we plan to hold a general meeting when shareholders will get the chance to formally vote on the future board which will oversee the running of the pub and make strategic decisions. We hope to hold that meeting sooner rather than later after the purchase.

If there are any questions or queries about this please do contact us via the website.

Hopefully we will have positive news about progress in the coming weeks but in the meantime the pub continues to be open and ready for your trade.

Regards

Ian Evans on behalf of the committee

Village letter

The following letter has been posted to villagers:

Dear Villager

The community’s efforts to buy the Brook Inn are drawing to a conclusion with the appointed solicitors continuing with the purchase procedure. We have pencilled in a mid-June date for exchange and completion four weeks later after which we will issue share certificates…barring any hiccups.

So far we have raised nearly £340,000 towards the original £400,000 target – enough for the £290,000 purchase price. If you have contributed to that total, the committee would like to extend its gratitude for your investment and support.

However…we are still £60,000 short, money we need for stock, cash flow and future capital expenditure. There are plans to borrow a sum to pay for the VAT on the purchase which we will get back from the Government after a short delay but we would like to keep future borrowings to a minimum.

Therefore the fundraising is continuing and we’re keen to attract new investors to the cause. If you have not done so already, would you consider investing in the pub or do you know others who would?

Not only would you and they be helping to secure the future of the pub, but there attractive tax benefits including the Enterprise Investment Scheme for taxpayers who can claim back nearly a third of their share costs. There are also income tax, capital gains tax and inheritance tax benefits. All the details can be found on the business plan on our website www.backthebrook.co.uk.

One of the key aspects of the project is obtaining a good manager. We have put adverts in the East Anglian Daily Times/Evening Star and on the website and received an encouraging response with interviews due to be held in the coming weeks.

Looking further forward clearly there are a lot of things to do. Some of this will involve the hands-on work of upgrading The Brook Inn and the flat above. The committee is considering the establishment of a working party to co-ordinate that work and so are looking for volunteers to carry out the plans. Can you volunteer your time or skills? If so contact us via the website email info@backthebrook.co.uk

The committee also needs strengthening for the tasks ahead. Encouragingly we have recently had two people enquire about joining it. Unfortunately George Wiseman has had to withdraw from the committee for health reasons so we are looking for someone with accountancy skills who can help steer the project.

As stated earlier, we are very grateful to all those who have invested in the pub and/or offered their services to the Back the Brook initiative. However we do need that extra push to get us over the finishing line and beyond. If you can help the committee in any way, we would be very grateful.

Regards

The committee, Back the Brook

 

 

 

Job advert published

A job advert was published in the jobs section of the EADT and Evening Star today and the company’s Jobs24 website seeking a manager for the ‘new’ Brook Inn.

If anybody wants to apply or knows someone who might fit the bill, please do follow it up:

Exciting new free house near Ipswich seeks dynamic and experienced manager to run food-led pub. Must be community-minded, have food experience and ready to ‘roll your sleeves’ up . The successful candidate will work with a small group of directors. Attractive salary, accommodation and car parking available in a village setting.

Please apply with CV and letter to Back the Brook Ltd, Huntley House, The Street, Copdock IP8 3HT or email: info@backthebrook.co.uk

Sale proceeding

We received Heads of Terms from Punch’s agents this week which is subject to contract and approval by the firm’s board (which I’m told is a formality).

An email this week to pledgers has realised around £18,000 which is due to be paid in in the coming days but still to hear from some of those who have previously indicated they will invest. One or two have said they won’t be honouring their pledges but fortunately they are in a minority.

We can’t urge people enough to fulfill their pledges – we based our offer on them so to pull out now creates a headache. Fortunately other investors are coming forward but we still need to get as close to the £400,000 target as possible to enact some of our medium and long-term plans.

The committee

Solicitors instructed

The current total for the Back the Brook fund stands at £320,000 in the bank. However, we still have nearly £40,000 in pledges still outstanding – money we have factored in to our plans.

The committee would urge all those who have pledged funds over the past 12 months or so to please fill out the Share Offer Application Form found in the ‘documents’ section of the home page and make arrangements to transfer the money. As they say in the famous grocer up the road…’every little helps’.

On the basis that a majority or all of the pledged money will find its way into the Back the Brook bank account, the committee has decided to instruct our solicitor at Ellisons in Colchester to proceed with the purchase arrangements.

We will keep you informed as events unfold.

The committee

Purchase update – fund passes £300,000 mark

Just a quick update on how things are progressing. To date we have
received payments of £310,000 – money deposited in the bank.
Well over half of the original pledges have been fulfilled including
most of the bigger ones. A number of investments have been bigger than
the original pledge and new investors have also come forward. We have
no reason to think that most of the remaining pledges will not be met.

We do need this to happen as we require to stock the pub and we need
to upgrade the building. How quickly we can do this will depend on
this further investment.
Ideally we would like to get as close to the £400,000 target as
possible but realistically the committee believes in the short and
medium term we need to reach around the £340,000 mark before we
instruct our lawyer to proceed with the purchase – so for that to
happen we need the outstanding pledges.
Once contracts have been exchanged we will issue the share
certificates to the investors, take action on recruiting a manager and
proceed with all the various operational issues. We would welcome any
suggestions regarding contacts and skills which will help us in these
tasks.
As before, all the information is on the website
www.backthebrook.co.uk with the relevant documents located in the
‘documents’ section of the Home page, in between Contact and Links,
underneath the photo of the pub.