The Fox & Goose, Hebden Bridge
The first community-owned pub in West Yorkshire
CAMRA Good Beer Guide, Halifax and Calderdale Pub of the Year 2022 & 2019
The Fox & Goose Co-operative
In early 2012 the former landlady was struggling to continue running the pub due to ill health, and the pub was under threat of being sold or even closed. As a small pub offering only wet sales in a town with high house prices, there was a strong possibility that it would be run into the ground by a Pub Co and turned into private housing, a pattern all too familiar in recent years.
Instead a group of regulars formed a community group and registered the pub as an asset of community value, buying enough time to look into the possibility of buying and running the pub as a co-operative. 70 people attended the first meeting and a steering group was established to register The Fox and Goose (Hebden Bridge) Limited as a community benefit society, raise enough money to buy the pub and undertake some long-needed refurbishments. Experience was drawn upon from the Co-operatives UK, the Plunkett Foundation and The Old Crown in Hesket Newmarket, the UK's first co-operatively-owned pub.
Bailiffs stripped the pub of its fixtures and fittings in September 2013, yet within two weeks the pub was open again. Regulars brought furniture from home and a pop-up pub was established by the bar staff to prevent its closure. An offer was accepted by the bank in November 2013 and a share offer issued to the community, raising £130,000 from around 259 investors, many of them regulars but others from across the country who were drawn to this unique pub. Investments ranged from £100 to £15,000, but everyone had equal voice and a part ownership in the pub. After contracts were exchanged in March 2014, the pub was closed for a week as people came together to help clean and decorate the pub for its grand opening.
On Saturday 22nd March 2014, the Fox & Goose reopened as a co-operative pub, the first in West Yorkshire, and it hasn't looked back since. With that original investment and subsequent limited share offers, we have been able to increase the membership to just under 300 people, improve the decor, extend the bar, greatly expand the beer garden and do important work on the structure of the property. All the staff are paid The Living Wage Foundation’s Real Living Wage
as a minimum the living wage, thus contributing to the local economy.
There were just 43 community-owned pubs back in 2013, but by 2021 that number had risen to 146. As pubs are closing across the country, co-operative pubs are thriving: only one has closed since the first one was established in 1983. We'll leave the final word with Councillor Dave Young, who was closely involved in the project from the very beginning; "We did it! This wonderful old pub which is both a well-loved social hub and an important piece of our local heritage is now saved for the community for posterity."
The Fox & Goose Directors
If you would like to learn more about the Fox & Goose Co-operative, or would like to be kept informed of our next share offer, please contact email@example.com.
The pub is also featured in the wonderful Co-operation Calderdale video at www.youtube.com/watch?v=vJSNpS6PK2w.
Hannah Nadim (Chair)
Nigel Sagar (Treasurer)
Allen Keep (Secretary)
Andy Carter (Director)
Chris Goddard (Director)
Phil Kennedy (Director)
Nigel Plant (Director)
The Fox & Goose Staff
Hannah Thurman and her team receiving the CAMRA Halifax and Calderdale’s Pub of the Year 2022 award