Save the Black Horse

Save the Black Horse

The Black Horse in Dry Drayton and has recently been closed and put up for sale. Fearing the pub could be lost, a community steering group has been set up to raise funds to buy the Black Horse, renovate it, find a suitable tenant and re-open it. Please read the ABOUT page for more details on what we are doing and subscribe to our newsletter to keep up to date with our progress.

We are now taking non-binding pledges of investment to gauge the level of funding we could raise from the community. We need your help and your pledges! Read more on our PLEDGE page.

Black Horse History

Black Horse History

A quick post to say thanks to Rosemary Gardiner for providing an entertaining short history of the Black Horse which can be found on our now updated PUB HISTORY page, along with some photos of the pub from the local archive.

We certainly enjoyed reading it and hope you do too!

Survey results

Survey results

On 7 June the Black Horse Steering Group distributed survey forms to households in Dry Drayton, mentioning that we would be outside the village hall the next day to collect and answer questions. Some of you might remember our stand on the pavement outside the polling station.  We also had an online version of the survey running in parallel which many of you preferred to use instead.  We received over 230 responses which far exceeded our expectations.   So a big thank you to all who participated in this survey.

We have analysed the survey and obtained some very helpful information.  We would like now to take this opportunity to share some of these results with you.  Some of what follows was also shown at our public meeting in the School Hall on 6 July. For those who missed our first public meeting or would like to view again what was said then the videos can be viewed by clicking here.

We first asked, via a statement: “Many pubs in the UK have been lost over recent years. We should save the Black Horse.” The response to this statement was overwhelmingly positive at 95%.

We then asked the question: “The pub should be the hub where we can enjoy chance meetings, have a drink or a meal, meet up with friends or take the family or our visitors out. How important is it to have a pub in our village?”  There was a staggering 97% positive response.

Following this we wanted to find out what you really wanted from a pub, so we asked the question: “What would you want out of the Black Horse (tick top five choices)?”

Clearly the top thing you want out of the Black Horse is: “Home cooked traditional food at a good price”, with 210 ticking this box which represents 90% of you.  This is a very high score indeed. Following not too far behind were: “Quiet drink”, “Garden”, “Dinner with friends” and “Sunday lunch” all scoring above 50%.  Also scoring well were: “Cafe during day”, “Play area for families” and “Shop for daily essentials”

We also asked the question “When would you use the Black Horse?” We offered: “Evening pub”, “Lunch pub”, “Morning cafe” and “Afternoon cafe”.  For each of these four we asked you to select: “Yes”, “Maybe” or “No”.

What you want most is a pub that you can go to in the evening.  Also scoring high was a pub at lunch time.  Whilst there was interest in having a cafe at the Black Horse, the responses were mainly “Maybe”.

For the pub to be saved we needed to look at how this would be financed, so we asked the question “Would you consider financially supporting the project (shares and loans could be tax efficient) – tick all that you might consider”.

Most of you liked the idea of owning shares.  Many of you have already pledged to help save the Black Horse however, we still need more of you to help out.  Click here to go to our online pledge form.

The Black Horse Steering Group recognised early on that we would need to also get support from surrounding communities outside Dry Drayton.  So we asked the question: “Where do you live?”

As expected 62% of the responses were from Dry Drayton residents. We also got a high number of responses (25%) from our neighbours in Bar Hill.  In total we we received responses from 27 towns and villages around Dry Drayton.

Without doubt the message we received is that we must save the Black Horse as a pub for the community now and for future generations.

Pledges, Videos and News

Pledges, Videos and News

The dust has settled (a little!) after our public meeting on the 6th – and we are very pleased to announce that to date we have raised over £62,300 in pledges, 25% of our desired total already – and pledges keep steadily coming in! We have installed a ‘pledge-o-meter’ graphic on the website which we will make sure stays up to date so everyone can keep an eye on how we are doing (note for readers on mobile phones you need to scroll down to the end of the blog posts to see it – we’re working on fixing that).

A huge thank you to those who have pledged, and also to those who have given us lots of encouragement and support – and thanks once more to those who attended our public meeting on the 6th, we were truly humbled by the turnout and support.

We will be replying individually to those who have pledged – this may take a few days. We aim to have replied to everyone who has so-far pledged by the end of this weekend, so if you haven’t heard anything after that please get in touch.

We’ve had some good press coverage, the Cambridge News ran an article on our effort, and we have been contacted by Cambridge 105 radio. We seem to be on-theme as there has been press attention in the last week about community groups who are buying and successfully running their pubs – for example this great article in the Guardian. There was also a piece about community run pubs on BBC Look East.

Finally, the meeting on the 6th was recorded and has now been expertly edited, ready for your viewing pleasure – we hope this is useful for anyone who wants to go back over the material while they consider making a pledge, or for those who are new to what we are doing and want to get up to speed. The video is in three parts and can be found by clicking here

You can also find the videos on our PLEDGE information page.



A great big thank you to everyone who joined us at our public meeting tonight (the 6th July) – we had a big crowd, and it was standing room only for the last few through the door! We counted more than 120 people and were very happy to see such a large turnout.

People seemed eager to listen to what we have been up to, and what the next steps in the process are, and sat attentively for nearly an hour in the (rather hot and humid) school hall!

We had lots of very good questions from the audience and more good ideas and advice from people who stayed behind to chat to us afterwards. If anyone still has questions please drop us an email.

Most importantly of all we have now started taking pledges from potential investors, this is a (currently non-binding) pledge to buy shares in the Community Benefit Society which we are setting up to buy the pub. We need an accurate gauge of how much we could raise with a formal community share offer. Community shares are a way for the community to collectively own the pub and have it run for them.

If you would like to pledge you will find lots more information on our PLEDGE page – please take a look and think about pledging – the more pledges we get, and the more generous the pledges, the more likely we will be able to successfully buy and re-open the pub.

Thanks again for all who attended – we will have more pictures, video and also the presentation available online soon.



Pop-Up Pub and Other News

Pop-Up Pub and Other News

Our 4th July pop-up pub and BBQ on the school field was a great success! – 60 fun-run runners and plenty more locals attended the event and enjoyed great local ale, lager and cider -and drained every drop!

The pop-up pub was in aid of our cause, run by Lord Conrad’s (thanks to Jon as always for being such a great supporter) in association with Dry Drayton School and Village Association who also organised the fun run. Thanks to Scottie and the team for BBQing all evening!

We’ve also now had over 230 responses to our online survey, so thanks to everyone who has taken the time to fill it in, this has given us invaluable feedback which will help us refine our plan for a re-opened, community owned Black Horse.

Finally, yet another reminder to come along to our public meeting at the school hall, 8pm on Thursday (the 6th) where we will give an update on our progress, the next steps and explain how community members can help out and/or become shareholders to raise money to buy and reopen the pub. We will have plenty of time to answer questions about what we are doing and look forward to seeing everyone there.


Plunkett Foundation Bursary

Plunkett Foundation Bursary

Before we go on I’d like to remind readers that we will have a ‘save the pub’ meeting on Thursday the 6th July at 8pm at the Dry Dayton school hall (next to the pub). Everyone is welcome including those from surrounding villages. Please come along and hear what we have been up to and how we plan to save the pub, how you can help and how you can become an investor in a valuable community asset!

Note also that on Tuesday the 4th July there will be a pop up pub in support of our campaign, come along for beers and a BBQ, 6:45pm until late!

We have some good news to share – the Plunkett Foundation have just granted us a £2500 bursary to help with our mission to save the pub!

The Plunkett Foundation is a not for profit organisation that provides expert help and funding to groups such as ours who are looking to set up a community owned enterprise. We are very grateful to the Foundation, and particularly our advisor Alan Collard, for all of the help and support to date especially taking the time to join us at our steering group meetings (which usually go on until quite late!). Alan has been advising us on our business structure, and is also a veteran pub saver having been one of the first to organise a community group to successfully buy his local back in the 1990s.

While we are at it we would also like to thank our other expert advisor, Bernard Lee, from Pub is the Hub for his support of our effort and again for joining us at meetings to offer invaluable advice especially around the day to day business aspects of running a community owned pub, and what has worked well for many of the other 50 successful community owned pubs around the country (note that of those 50 pubs, all are still thriving, and none have failed – 100% success rate so far!).

Pub is the Hub Logo

Plunkett Foundation and Pub is the Hub, we thank you!

Latest News 18-06-2017

Latest News 18-06-2017

It’s been a little while since we’ve posted any updates, but we’ve been very busy!

We’ve confirmed that we will have a ‘save the pub’ meeting on the 6th July at 8pm at the Dry Dayton school hall (next to the pub). Everyone is welcome including those from surrounding villages.

At the ‘save the pub’ meeting as we will be explaining exactly how we will save the pub and presenting our draft business plan and investors prospectus. Please come along and hear what we have to say, we can only save the pub with the help and support of the local community!

On polling day, the 8th of June, we had a stand outside Dry Drayton Village Hall to collect the paper surveys which we had posted through everyone’s door (in Dry Drayton) over the previous week. We were surprised at the almost universal positive response, enjoyed chatting to many locals and we do now know that there is an overwhelming desire from the community to save the pub, which is great news!

We have had a very good response to our survey; 193 responses to date with 70% of responses from Dry Drayton residents, 25% from Bar Hill and the rest from other surrounding villages. We’ve had lots of good feedback and suggestions, thank you! If you haven’t taken part in our survey yet we really would value your input, click HERE to complete the online version.

On Friday the 16th a sub-team of the steering group met to kick off formally writing the business plan for the pub – the plan is to have everything in draft form ready for the 6th July. The Survey feedback and Alan’s advice has been critical – thanks to Alan, and our local community!

We are now being officially supported by the Plunkett Foundation who provide support to communities who are looking to provide a community owned asset (pub, shop, etc.). On Wednesday the 14th we had a visit from Alan Collard, who is and advisor for the Plunkett Foundation. Alan is supporting our application for some seed funding and then (hopefully) for Government grant and loan money (of which there is up to £100,000 available). As well as this Alan is advising us on our legal entity and how to raise money from the local community by (for example) issuing community shares. There are many examples of communities (often smaller than Dry Drayton) having managed to raise enough funds to buy their pubs so we are very optimistic.

Alan Collard from the Plunkett Foundation joins us for our steering group meeting
Online Survey Now Ready

Online Survey Now Ready

A short but serious post today – your views are very important to us, so if you could spare the time to fill in our online survey we would be very grateful as it will help shape the future of the Black Horse.

In due course we will share the results, in the meantime thank you in advance for your participation.

BHSG Meeting 29-05-2017

BHSG Meeting 29-05-2017

Another week and another steering group meeting, this time at the Lord Conrad’s Brewery Tap featuring 400 Degrees Pizza (the beer and pizza were both excellent!)

We’ve had a good week with plenty of signups to our newsletter and questions from potential investors.

This meeting mostly focused on:

  • When we should hold our first village meeting to explain to the community how we are planning on saving the pub, and also explain how to become an investor
    • We are planning on confirming a date during the first week of July
  • How to raise awareness of our event(s) and cause
    • leafleting Dry Drayton and also geographically close communities such as Bar Hill, Hardwick and Cambourne
    • Pages in local newsletters
    • Roadside signs
    • Visiting other events to talk to the community and give out leaflets/information
  • How to gather feedback from the community on ideas / wants for the pub (online questionnaire and paper questionnaire at events)
  • The business plan – we have a couple of business plans from pubs hat have been successfully saved by the local community as a great starting template, and a good idea of what we need to do.
    • The plan is to have a draft business plan and investor prospectus to present at our community meeting in July

In addition to the above we’ve also commissioned a valuation of the pub and submitted forms to the Plunkett Foundation who have provided invaluable support and advice to other successfully saved pubs.

Pizza. Beer. Pub saving.
Bank Holiday News

Bank Holiday News

Just a couple of items of news to keep everyone updated on this oh so typical of May bank holidays (sunshine – check, wind – check, thunderstorms and pouring rain- check!).

Firstly, we’ve said it a lot before and we’ll say it again – a big thank you to Mythic Beasts for providing our web hosting, and now they’ve also been blogging about our cause, true supporters!

We also want to remind our readers that Lord Conrad’s Brewery is having a pop up pub this bank holiday weekend – members of the steering group will be there as much as possible to give out leaflets and answer questions about our efforts to save the Black Horse – hope to see you there!