Secure the Halfway House for the local community

Help us create a community asset at the Halfway House on the Wrekin

1. Overview
2. Our vision
3. Who we are
4. Halfway House history
5. How will we raise the funds?
6. Who will own the Halfway House and what will the profits be used for?
7. What happens if our campaign is unsuccessful?

1. Overview

We are a group of volunteers who in May 2021 established a Community Interest Company (CIC) called the Halfway House on the Wrekin CIC in order to secure the Halfway House as a community asset. Since the current owner, Sean Saward, has put the property up for sale for £650,000, we have started a campaign to buy this beautiful and historic site for the benefit of the local community and future generations. Through a combination of crowdfunding and grant applications, we aim to raise enough to be able to put in an offer, but with the house already up for sale we need to do this as soon as possible - ideally within the next six months.

The Halfway House has provided refreshment to thousands of walkers over its 150-year history as a café and has recently undergone a major transformation by its current owner, with a restored kiosk and café pavilion, outdoor seating area and gardens on a site that commands stunning views. At the moment the business is gradually reopening after being closed by the pandemic, providing a takeaway service and use of its gardens for customers, and has restarted supporting fundraising events such as sponsored walks up the Wrekin. 

We are determined that the building retain its important role serving local residents and visitors and would like to see the site developed as a visitor centre for the Wrekin as well as providing new opportunities for events, camping, outdoor pursuits, nature talks, a range of classes from art to orienteering, and even overnight accommodation.

57451701_1622632894713403_r.jpegAbove: The newly-restored Pavilion at the Halfway House

2. Our Vision

 Our first priority would be improving the existing facilities and establishing a visitor centre to provide services and information for local walkers and visitors to the area. Once this has been achieved, we would use further profits to provide more services to the local community. Our CIC has a board of six directors who will oversee the project in a voluntary capacity to ensure the smooth running of the project and that it follows our CIC constitution, which adheres to national protocols. We envisage that the Board of Directors will act as a sounding board for donors, local residents and visitors to put forward what they would like to see the Halfway House provide.

We are very keen that the services offered by the Halfway House mirror the needs and requirements of the local community. Our current shortlist of potential offerings includes support for fundraising events on the Wrekin, providing recycling facilities for all Wrekin users, development of a heath and wellbeing centre, a forest school, and providing a centre for education, arts & crafts, and volunteering. We also aim to host yearly events for celebrations such as the summer solstice and New Year’s Eve as well as providing event space for local groups or businesses in our Pavilion.

3. Who we are

We have formed a Community Interest Company (CIC) called the Halfway House on the Wrekin CIC to spearhead this not-for-profit campaign over the next few years. Below is a list of our board of directors:

Kim Bennett
Sports Therapist, former local newspaper Editor and regular Wrekin user
Caroline Freeman
Local GP and regular Wrekin user
Pauline Kesek
Interior Designer, regular Wrekin user and Chair of Wrekin Road Runners
Jenny Joy
Wildlife Conservationist and Director of the current Halfway House business
Anthony Lowe
Wellington Town Councillor and former Wellington Mayor
Jacqueline Seymour
Borough Councillor and former Shropshire Wildlife Trust Trustee

In addition to the core board of directors, we are currently supported by a social media team and a variety of independent advisors with expertise in various fields. As our project develops and our areas of focus diversify, we hope to get more advisors on board to help us achieve our vision in the future.

4. Halfway House History

Historically known as Wrekin Upper Cottage, the Halfway House has served as a popular refreshment spot for walkers climbing the Wrekin since at least 1860, when the current building was constructed. For generations the site has provided the local community with a focal point to enjoy outdoor activities in this beautiful place. We would also love to see a return of maypole dancing, Victorian swing boats and dancing events for which the Halfway House was famed in the early twentieth century. These pictures of the Halfway House and the Pavilion interior date from the early 1900s,  when the house was used as a venue for local dinners and even dances that continued late into the evening. We would love to recreate those happy times.

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57451701_1622633032345534_r.jpegAbove: The interior of the Pavilion today

5. How will we raise the funds?

We would like to emphasise that our Go Fund Me campaign is only one fundraising channel we are using to try to reach our goal. We are also exploring the opportunities available to us through a variety of grant applications, both for the purchase of the house and to help with the development of the visitor centre.

Every donation made through Go Fund Me, however small, increases our chances of securing additional funding. Often, grant-awarding bodies require that fundraising campaigns can demonstrate a strong foundation of local support, and some even use the funds raised at a community level as a benchmark to determine how much additional support they can provide.  

6. Who will own the Halfway House and what will the profits be used for?

If we are successful in our campaign, the premises at the Halfway House will be owned by our not-for-profit organisation, the Halfway House on the Wrekin CIC (Community Interest Company), and managed by its Board of Directors. Initially any profits from our business activities there (plus any grant funding we are awarded) will be dedicated to establishing the property as a visitor centre and improving and maintaining existing facilities. Any further profits would be used to help deliver the highest priority local community interests, taking into account the views of local people, visitors and donors.

We intend that the Board of Directors will provide a channel for the wider community to put forward their ideas about what they would like to see the Halfway House provide, and that decisions will be made that reflect the desires of local residents. While the CIC already has six directors, we feel that we would also benefit from appointing additional directors, with different skill sets, in the future.

7. What happens if our campaign is unsuccessful?

We recognise that our target amount is ambitious and accept the possibility that we may not achieve our goal. If this happens and we are unable to acquire the Halfway House, all funds raised through Go Fund Me will be refunded to the donors. Part of the reason we chose this fundraising platform is that it enables us to automatically refund donors if we do have to cancel our campaign, guaranteeing to donors that their money will either be put towards buying the Halfway House or refunded to them.

We are immensely grateful for any donations we receive. As volunteers, we are dependent on the generosity and support from individuals who are as passionate about creating a positive future for the Halfway House as we are. Every pound we raise will help us realise our vision of the Halfway House as a place to be enjoyed by the local community as well as visitors to our area, now and in years to come.

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57451701_162270862526396_r.jpegAbove: The Wrekin (Tina Corfield Photography)
  • DR C J FREEMAN 
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  • Anonymous 
    • £40 
    • 3 d
  • Anonymous 
    • £10 
    • 5 d
  • Martina Barrett 
    • £30 
    • 5 d
  • Martina Barrett 
    • £30 
    • 5 d
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Organizer

Jenny Joy 
Organizer
Telford and Wrekin, UK
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