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August 14, 2019

Public house ownership

Communities pooling their resources to buy the local pub is pretty mainstream in England but for some reason not in Scotland. However, that’s starting to change and the village of Gartmore in Stirlingshire is aiming to be in the vanguard of this community landlord movement with a share offer already well underway. Gartmore have got history when it comes to buying up important community assets. Already in their property empire they have the village hall and local village shop – the Black Bull will be a welcome and important addition.

Community Shares Scotland

Gartmore group seek £55,000 for The Black Bull

A hotel and pub in Gartmore, near Stirling could soon be the first in Scotland to be owned by its local community.

The Black Bull Hotel is the subject of a community share offer aiming to crowdfund £55,000. The idea has received financial backing from the Scottish Land Fund and the volunteers behind the campaign now hope their supporters back them to raise the necessary community contribution.

The opportunity arose after current owners, Andy and Liz Malcolm decided it was time to move on, offering to sell the business to a community group for below its market value.

After a public meeting and consultation with the community, plans were drawn up to take on the hotel and convert it to a “hub and pub” space that could be enjoyed by everybody in the village. 

Colin Garvie, one of the society’s founding directors, said: “The creation of the Black Bull Hub & Pub will address some of the key challenges faced by the village, including an absence of facilities for an ageing population, social isolation, shortage of local activities for young people, limited local employment opportunities and a lack of public services and facilities to attract visitors to the area.

“The Black Bull Hub and Pub will generate the necessary revenue to pay staff, improve facilities and provide services that will empower the community to make Gartmore a better place to live, work and visit, as well as protecting the services and sustainability of the village hall and the village shop both of which are also owned and run by the community.”

The project has been helped along the way by Community Shares Scotland and could be the first of several similar schemes across Scotland. With one UK pub every twelve hours said to permanently close its door, some see community ownership as the ideal way to save much needed social spaces, especially in rural areas.

For more information and to invest in the share offer visit