Latest News – 22 July 2020

Dear Friends,

I hope you are well and keeping safe.

It is now clear that we must wind up the Ship Inn Share Issue offer and return all money to the investors. The Aldwick Community Society took that decision last night for the following reasons.

  • We have only raised about £60,000 which is well short of the minimum target of £450,000. In the end, the community evidently could not support the campaign financially. That is the main reason for calling a halt to the Share Issue.
  • The unforseen Covid crisis has made redundant our economic model and cash flow forecasts. Like all hospitality businesses today the Ship Inn would face real difficulties being viable given social distancing and government restrictions.
  • In the present circumstances it is not certain that enough local customers would book, eat and drink at the Ship Inn pub-restaurant in sufficient numbers.
  • We may well have faced increased refurbishment costs to make the building Covid safe.
  • We are checking whether the site owners have indeed finally signed the lease with One Stop Stores. If they have, there is no prospect of our buying the freehold.

All the money will be returned to investors’ accounts in 28 days. We have a few cheques which have not been cashed and will be returned in the post.

There are certain commitments the Society has regarding company registration, the website, the membersmojo database, and the Plunkett Foundation. These will be reviewed although we would like to maintain the Friends data base so that we can communicate with you all in future. We would also like to continue our opposition to One Stop Stores and especially their attempts to unload articulated trucks on Aldwick Street.

We hope that the people of Aldwick can show their contempt for One Stop by refusing to shop in their store and that its fate will be the same as the former Morrisons and My Local convenience stores.

The Aldwick Community Society committee would like to thank you for your enthusiastic support during the campaign, attending the public meetings, and giving us the confidence to carry on. But in the end we couldn’t raise the cash.

Keep the Aldwick spirit alive and you never know we may get another opportunity.

Best of Luck,

Roger Beam. Chair. The Aldwick Community Society and the Friends of the Ship Inn.

The Ship Inn Aldwick

Our Vision

Great local pubs have souls and we lost ours when they closed the Ship Inn Aldwick. We want to get it back and forge a new, exciting future with a reinvigorated community spirit.

The Ship Inn, will be our place to meet, to relax with a drink and a good meal, to celebrate, and to help others who live alongside us.

We see the Ship Inn as :

  • A thriving, popular, profitable pub-restaurant, owned by us, where every shareholder has a vote in its future.
  • A lively, generous place where its customers demand and get high standards.
  • Giving a welcome for all ages at our community’s hub.
  • Having the best beers, wine, food, and entertainment.
  • Building a reputation which brings in custom from outside Aldwick.
  • A meeting place for clubs, associations and groups.
  • Drawing in the isolated and disadvantaged among us.
  • Open from morning coffee to last orders.

If we secure the purchase of the Ship Inn site, and then refit the building into a pub-restaurant again, we hope to open for business by the summer of next year.


  • To resurrect the Ship Inn and reinstate it as a neighbourhood public house and restaurant.
  • To make it a hub for the community, as it once was.
  • To support and encourage groups like pensioners, young mums, the disabled, and make them welcome at the Ship Inn.
  • Open for business within 12 months.

The Ship Inn Community Pub, in Aldwick

  • In keeping with the Society‘s rules, the pub, its volunteers, and members will actively seek out the isolated, disabled or immobile and offer them a place to gather.
  • The pub will make special lunch offers for the elderly, and coffee mornings for young mums.
  • The management committee and staff will encourage clubs and associations to meet in our pub.
  • We will revive local sports teams and get them to recruit and celebrate on the premises.
  • And we will hire an experienced tenant who is enthusiastic, practical, and wants to progress our community policy values.
The Ship In Aldwick

The Operation

There is huge local sentiment for the Ship Inn. Every survey and public meeting the Friends have conducted show that to be the case. People are willing to support this pub-restaurant with their custom.

There is a large population catchment in Aldwick within walking distance of the Ship Inn. The two council wards, Aldwick East and Aldwick West, have a population of 11,282 residents; 9,844 are over 16 years.

47% of the population are male, and 53% are female. The average age is 51 years.

5,775 are working age adults, and 4,080 are over 65 years ( 36% of the population compared with the average of 16% in England)

There are 5,509 households and 86% of them are owner occupied.

Aldwick is a mixed area with a range of private housing, plus two affluent estates, Aldwick Bay and Craigweil.
The employment categories are: managerial 12.7%; professional 26%; administrative and secretarial 13%; skilled workers 13.2%; and manual 9.2%.

Our market strategy is first to focus on our local people, and second to the wider Bognor Regis area and beyond.

A crucial focus will be our food offer. We intend that the chosen tenant or his staff will be an expert chef, devising and executing an original menu chaning with the seasons.

We expect the quality and the value to attract our loyal locals, and those from outside who get to hear of it.

Ingredients will be sourced locally as far as possible

We anticipate Friday, Saturday, and Sundays will the busy days and nights. The offer will include Saturday brunch and Sunday roasts.

In consultation with the tenant, we will introduce mid-week special offers, pub quizzes, live entertainment, and provision for private functions.

We expect to be open in the mornings for coffee.

The Ship Inn will be a free house, able to buy its beer and spirits from any producer.

The bar will have the best cask and craft beers, Sussex brands, and guest ales.

There are plans for a Ship Inn Wine Society, and a take-away pizzeria.

This is not just a pub-restaurant. It’s a centre, a hub for the community. It will serve as a voluntary service, as well as a commercial business.

The Society will seek out the isolated and disadvantaged in our community and find the means to bring them to the Ship Inn for companionship and social interaction.

We will interact with local charities and organisations. We have already made contact with Mens Sheds, the national movement to get older men together to use their practical skills for the community. Mens Shed in South Bersted wants to help us set up a satellite branch on the Ship Inn site.

The national project to fight loan sharks want to run education and awareness sessions in local venues like the Ship Inn. We have set up links with them.

Residents who are on electric mobility scooters will be accommodated and get easy access to the Ship Inn.

We will set up a contract with a local taxi company for a people carrier to ferry customers who find it difficult to get about.

The pub-restaurant may not achieve its sales target. Customers might not patronise the establishment in enough numbers.

The chosen tenant is not up to the job, and needs to be replaced.

There could be a void period between tenants when the Society may have to recruit a temporary manager.

Relations between the tenant and the Society deteriorates.

Outgoings are higher than budgeted for.

The refit costs are underestimated and the Society needs to raise further funds.

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