A village pub could soon belong to the community, if they can raise enough money to buy it.
Following Eleri and Meirion Pugh’s wish to retire from the The Eagles in Llanuwchllyn, the community has come together to buy the building to run it as a pub, restaurant, and community shop, to ensure its survival as an important social and economic hub and to support the vitality of the community in future.
The working committee has agreed a purchase price with the family and is now preparing to publish a share offer, open to all soon.
The venture has formed as a community benefit society, meaning any profits will be reinvested in the community. This also enables applications for public and grant funding. The society has set a financial target of £500,000 to purchase and run The Eagles.
Grisial Llewelyn, chair of the committee said: “The Eagles is more than a pub; it is the heart of our community. The bar, restaurant and shop bring the whole community together daily, and support a multitude of societies and clubs.
“The Eagles’ excellent reputation attracts people from all over Wales and further afield to enjoy the warm welcome, good food and drink.
“Losing The Eagles would have a huge impact on the village and the area more widely. As a committee, we are determined to make the venture a success. We are ambitious and are looking at developing further opportunities to benefit the community.
“I want to thank Eleri and Meirion for over 20 years of tireless service and commitment to this community. I’d also like to thank the community here for the support in establishing the venture, and to those who have helped such as the Plunkett Foundation, Cwmpas and numerous community enterprises across Wales.
“As we now prepare to publish a share offer, the message to everyone is clear – get ready to invest in the Eagles, get ready to invest in your community! In the meantime, we are eager to hear from anyone who may be interested in running this thriving business on behalf of the community”.
Mabon ap Gwynfor MS said: “It’s wonderful to see the buzz and activity that is so characteristic of Llanuwchllyn society.
“This is what will make the Eagles venture a huge success. This community venture is essential.
“The warm welcome from Eleri and Meirion is an integral part of the community’s heart and a cornerstone for the language. It will not only protect The Eagles but will also provide exciting opportunities for the prosperity and future of the area and community.
“I’m calling for public bodies and the public to provide financial and practical support for this special project.”
Eleri Pugh said: “We’ll have extremely fond memories from our time at The Eagles and of this warm community.
“It has been a pleasure and whilst I’m sure we’ll miss our time running The Eagles, we are looking forward to sitting at the other side of the bar for a change, and are delighted that the community will now take ownership to ensure this special place continues to thrive”
Menter yr Eagles is also seeking genuine interest from anyone interested in running the pub.
Grisial Llewelyn, chair of Menter yr Eagles, said: “We’re looking for someone to run the place and who share our values.
“This is an amazing opportunity because The Eagles is more than just a business.
“This is a beloved and special institution for the community and the thousands who visit every year. As an opportunity, this provides diverse streams of income through the shop, pub and restaurant, and is a proven success in terms of profitability and sustainability.
“The successful applicant will have the backing of the community, the wider area and the expertise and practical support of the management team”.
Gareth Llyr Jones, treasurer of Menter yr Eagles, said: We’ve been overwhelmed by the enthusiastic messages of support received from all over Wales and beyond. This is down I think to the fact that The Eagles is special - and the fact that what makes and has always made The Eagles special is the foundation for what Menter yr Eagles is all about.
“This venture is rooted in the community and works for the community, this venture is about the warm and inclusive welcome for all and always, and at its heart this venture is about the value and valuing of the Welsh language. I’m really looking forward to hearing from everyone who has an interest in running this very special place.”