THE community of Woodgreen is still rallying in a bid to buy the Horse and Groom pub.

The bid is currently being prepared by residents hoping to purchase the pub, which is owned by brewery Hall and Woodhouse.

Julie Rich, who has been spearheading the village campaign, said: "We hope our offer is going to be taken seriously and that it is not a done deal."

She says nearly 140 individuals have supported the campaign, pledging money for the cause.

Villagers launched a bid to raise between £600,000 and £700,000 last month, which would cover the purchase, stamp duty, legal fees, VAT and necessary refurbishments.

More than £450,000 has been pledged so far, with more to come.

A community benefit society has also been set up to allow supporters to buy shares and loan stock.

If the community were successful in their bid to buy the pub, the steering group would employ a manager and staff to run it as.

When fundraising was started last month, £150,000 was pledged in the first week.

"I've found the support absolutely amazing," said Julie. "People have been getting quite excited by the idea. The support has been quite humbling."

"It really shows it is a true community effort. We do have that community support."

There has been support from neighbouring villages including Redlynch, Lover, Ringwood and others.

The pub was designated as an asset of community value, and a six month period was imposed to allow the community to prepare and submit a bid for the property.

Julie said: "We hope our offer is going to be taken seriously and that it is not a done deal.

"We hope they [the brewery] respect the spirit of that legislation [the asset of community value]. But they are under no obligation to sell it to us

"It will be very disappointing [if we were unsuccessful in our bid] but you can't say we didn't do our best."

Mark James, the director of Hall and Woodhouse, said: “From the outset it has always been our intention for the Horse and Groom to remain as a pub after sale.

“We have received strong interest from an experienced publican who wishes to purchase the Horse and Groom and run it as a successful village pub, as well as the bid from the local Community Group. We will consider all offers received.”

Pledges of support are still welcome to find out more go to