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MP backs community purchase of thriving historic mill

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Stroud’s Fromehall Mill, in Lodgemore Lane, is a vibrant focal point for community organisations, businesses and service users from across the county.

The nineteenth century building was put up for sale earlier this year and Fromehall Mill Community Benefit Society (FMCBS) was founded June to acquire the freehold ownership. The current owner has provisionally accepted their offer, subject to contract, and has expressed support for the shared vision of the Mill being brought into community ownership.

Fromehall mill 3 of 3 | MP backs community purchase of thriving historic mill
From left: Claire Hatfield, Creative Sustainability, Andrew Longhurst, MMO UK, Anna Bonallack, Creative Sustainability, and John Meletiou, Charity for the Promotion of Artistic Therapy. Picture: Matt Bigwood.

“Our aim is to improve the mill and create a long-term programme of preservation and community led development,” explained Andrew Longhurst, one of the founding board members of FMCBS and Managing Director of MMOUK, based in the mill.

“This has been 10 months of work by the founding team, Anna Bonallack and Claire Hatfield of Creative Sustainability CIC, and myself.

“We have also had help from third parties including Tim Monk and Owen Gillard at Monostudio Ltd in Nailsworth who are responsible for the website and creating the polished versions of the docs, Alix Sibbald for the design, Jo White of Co-op Futures for guiding us with the grant applications and share offer docs.”

Fromehall mill 1 of 3 | MP backs community purchase of thriving historic mill
Representatives of the businesses, community groups and users of Fromehall Mill gathered for a photoshoot in August.

Siobhan Baillie MP was invited to look around the mill on Friday and told Stroud Times: “This has been a really important visit. It’s one of those places where I would never have been able to understand just how much amazing impact it has, so I had to go for a bit of a walk around.

“The Fromehall Mill team has been trying to really get together and buy this building – this is a beautiful old industrial site. I back them in their application for the Community Ownership Fund. We’ve had successes elsewhere, like the Black Horse Pub in Cranham, where we’ve got money from government to support the purchase of a community asset. So that’s what we’re trying to do here.”

FMCBS launched a share offer on November 1st with a target of raising £200,000. To buy Community Shares (minimum investment £100, max £25,000) on sale until February 14th next year, or to donate and download documents, visit https://fromehallmill.org/

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