Community interest company outlines its plans for Willsbridge Mill

Enjoying the Easter fun day at Willsbridge Mill are, back from left, Phoebe, Chloe, Owen, Jack and Rosie, with Sophie and William at the front

Enjoying the Easter fun day at Willsbridge Mill are, back from left, Phoebe, Chloe, Owen, Jack and Rosie, with Sophie and William at the front

A group hoping to take over the running of Willsbridge Mill from Avon Wildlife Trust this autumn held a fun day at the mill on Easter Sunday, raising more than £360 for pancreatic cancer research.

Willsbridge Mill Community Refresh is a group of residents aiming to manage the mill and barn buildings when the lease expires later this year. The group previously ran the Coffee Mill café at the mill and now plans a long-term and sustainable future for the buildings and woodland area that connects to Willsbridge Hill.

Last month Willsbridge Mill Community Refresh got community interest company (CIC) status which recognises the group as a not-for-profit organisation set up to benefit the community.

Sue Smith and Janet Davis from the group outlined their plans to a meeting of Oldland parish councillors last Tuesday and said they were confident of getting funding to refurbish the buildings. They plan a café hub and would host community events and educational courses, as well providing space for artisan businesses.

The group’s website has a survey asking what types of activities and events people would like to see at Willsbridge Mill. Go to www.willsbridgemill.net

For the past 30 years, the mill, barn and land immediately surrounding it have been leased from South Gloucestershire Council by Avon Wildlife Trust. The lease is due to end on 5th October and while the trust will continue to maintain the surrounding valley as a wildlife habitat, the lease on the buildings has become available.

The closing dates for applicants was last month and suitable projects will submit a full business plan by the end of May. The successful applicant will then be notified in June with a view to taking on the lease in October.