Locals form co-op to open centre ‘for all things Welsh’
Local people in Wrecsam have banded together to form a community cooperative to open a Welsh Centre in the town as a permanent legacy to this summer’s successful National Eisteddfod. As well as raising £29,000 in just 7 weeks, more than 100 potential investors have attended meetings to re-open the old Seven Stars pub as a Welsh Centre.
The community cooperative planning to re-open the historic Victorian pub in Chester St. said it was delighted at the response to their open meetings, which were held in the listed building.
Councillor Marc Jones, who chairs the venture, said: “We had a very positive response from people who came. Many were pleasantly surprised to see the downstairs area in such good condition, as it had recently been refurbished before it closed suddenly last year. I think that helped many to decide that this was an investment they were ready to make and become members of the cooperative.
“There are minor works to be done to make sure it’s in working order but it doesn’t take a leap of the imagination to see that we can be ready to open the downstairs before Christmas. We’re already talking to suppliers and there has been a lot of interest in renting the offices and meeting rooms we have planned for the upstairs area.
“The main challenge is to raise enough money to fit out the kitchen, buy stock, employ a manager and have enough working capital to see us over the first few months. We’ve already raised more than £29,000 and more cheques are arriving on a daily basis now.”
The centre will trade under the Welsh-language version of the Seven Stars – Saith Seren.
Potential investors can join for as little as £100 and can find out more about the scheme on www.saithseren.com. The cooperative has also come to an arrangement with the local credit union to enable investors to take out a loan for the £100 and pay it back monthly. People are invited to join online and can pay through PayPal or by cheque here [http://saithseren.com/?page_id=15]
The cooperative will focus on providing locally sourced food and drink, with ambitious plans for a micro-brewery in the cellar to be run by Pene Coles, a board member and well-known local brewer. Plans are underway for a Saith Seren real ale exclusive to the pub as well as being one of the first places to stock the newly relaunched Wrexham Lager.
Cllr Jones said: “We are working flat out to get the centre open in time for Christmas. The enthusiasm for the idea from Welsh speakers, learners and parents who are sending their children to Welsh-medium schools has been very encouraging. This building is intended to be a centre for all things Welsh in the town and we see it very much as a permanent legacy of a very successful National Eisteddfod held here in August.”