A 14-month campaign to raise the money for a community group to buy a 140-year-old church hall has ended in success.
The Hall Get Involved campaigners are celebrating after a frantic last day of bidding took them over the target fundraising total of £150,000.
Just after midnight on Friday morning (February 1), campaign organisers announced on Twitter that enough money had been raised to buy Exeter Street Hall from St Luke’s Parochial Church Council for community use.
In the last week, the campaign had 180 new shareholders join to push the total number over 800.
In total, shareholders made 1,200 bids between them with many bidding more than once.
During the frantic last few hours of fundraising, there were seven new shareholders every hour with local businesses including Infinity Foods, Austin Grey, Young Lee and No Walls Gallery getting involved.
Campaign founder Paul Winter opened his door this week to find a massive pile of more than 30 envelopes containing cheques for shares.
Campaigners formally told St Luke’s Parish Church Council yesterday (Sunday, February 3) that they had the money to buy the hall, although the legal proceedings transferring ownership is expected to take up to three months.
A celebration of the achievement is set to take place at early backers The Prestonville Arms with a Real Ale festival.
Mr Winter said: “It’s just started to sink in what we’ve achieved after 14 months.
“We have had a lot of Facebook messages and texts that have come in and it’s quite emotional really, people have said there’s been hugging and tears.
“For any further costs we won’t be going back to our existing shareholders, we will be looking to raise through rebuilding grants that are available.”
Warren Carter is one of the organisers behind the Bevy community pub campaign, which has raised £10,000 in shares towards their £200,000 fundraising project.
He said: “It was fantastic to wake up and find out they had done it.
“It’s a case of if they have done, we can do it too.”
To support the Bevy, visit the website www.thebevy.co.uk.
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