A project has launched this week to save the popular Cellar Bar in Cardigan – a place very close to my heart as it is the venue for our poetry group, The Cellar Bards.
The Bards open mic night was the first event I went to after leaving my full time job this June – and I felt like I had come home.
Since then I have read my work there and enjoyed the work of many other local and visiting writers.
There is a great deal of talent here and we need to keep this venue going, not just for the writers, but for all the musicians and other artists that find a platform here.
Campaigners are looking for 500 people to put up £500 each to make a community bid to buy the building, which also houses the Castle Café and flats above.
The venue is under threat because of financial problems faced by the owners. While the business is still operating profitably, the bank has called in the loan and they are unable to remortgage to the level they need to. As a business this could be a profitable community project and the owners are happy to support the Cellar Bar 500 idea.
The project was announced this week by regulars. Some are already arranging fundraising events in a bid to find the cash to buy a share in the scheme.
Regulars say: ‘We believe the Cellar Bar is a vital part of the social infrastructure of Cardigan and the wider area and we will do all we can to save it.
‘The idea is that the place would be owned by the community for the community. At present we are collecting pledges and will formulate a clear policy and organisation before we proceed.
‘The Cellar is a haven for so many people and it’s a great platform for the arts locally. We must save it if we possibly can.’
One local musician said he would sell his guitar to raise money if it would help – this means that much to people.
As well as investors the group is seeking people with expertise in various areas to help out – including finance, law, grants and fundraising.
Anyone who wants to find out more can contact the project co-ordinators on the Cellar Bar 500 Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/521839721179416/
Once initial contributions are received the money will be held by a secure third party and will be fully refundable should the project be cancelled at any stage. The aim is to set up a social enterprise company to buy or lease the building.
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