The Warwick Bridge Preservation Society in Cumbria issued a community share offer to lease and finish the fitting out of the mill and bakery situated in Warwick Bridge Corn Mill. They reached their target with over 200 investors.
The society received a £10,000 development grant from the Community Shares Booster Programme, and an additional £49,500 in investment after reaching their £99,000 target.
Warwick Bridge Corn Mill is a grade II listed building on the Heritage at Risk Register. It sits on the site of the medieval manorial mill dating from the 13th century. Today, the structure of the mill has been restored and the historic machinery has been returned to working order to allow corn to be milled at the mill again.
Food production has been reinstated with the bakery using renewable energy. The Warwick Bridge Preservation Society sped up their plans to restart stoneground flour production for the first time in almost 30 years. They are now supplying local shops, including fellow community businesses.
During the unprecedented times of Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown, the success of the mill is testament to the resilience of businesses using the community shares model and getting communities involved.
Community-owned businesses are committed to serving the communities in which they’re situated and by which they’re owned. Their small size means they can be flexible and agile, diversifying at pace – as has been seen during the lockdown period, with many transforming into community food hubs and support networks that have proved essential to the community at large.