The Fox Friends are a group of people who have come together to save their well-loved local by turning it into West Yorkshire’s first co-operative pub.
The Fox and Goose is a traditional real ale pub on Heptonstall Road, Hebden Bridge. It is steeped in local history and has been extremely popular among the local community and visitors for many years. The Fox sells only quality real ales from independent micro breweries, real ciders and bottled beers, ciders and lagers.
Due to ill health the owner was having difficulty keeping the pub going. Neither she nor the regulars and local community wanted to see the Fox and Goose swallowed up by a major chain, losing its unique character or being closed down and sold off for another use.
Regulars and supporters from the local community and further afield came together in February 2012 with the aim of buying the Fox and Goose and running it as a co-operative pub. An interim steering group was set up to take the project forward with elected members from within the wider Fox Friends supporters group.
The steering group investigated the practicalities of a buy-out, commissioned a survey, looked into the present business and investigated where it could be improved and explored the best ways to make the co-operative viable and sustainable.
Fox Friends, are supported by a number of co-operative organisations and community groups including:
- The Plunkett Foundation,
- Co-operatives UK,
- The Co-operative Enterprise Hub,
- Halifax & Calderdale CAMRA,
- South Pennine Prospects &
- Wild Rose Heritage & Arts.
From the results of these investigations, a business plan was drawn up, a Community Benefit Society formed and a share offer issued, which has raised the funds to buy the pub.
On the 20th March 2014 after over 2 years of hard work the Pub was secured by the Community.