The first annual dividend cheques have been issued to all 237 individual investors just over a year since Dales Head Community Ltd (DHC) completed the purchase of Dale Head Garage in Hawes.
The garage was purchased by the local community earlier this year when it became clear that owners Minerva SIPP were looking to sell the asset.
With the incentive of a 4p per litre reduction on the pump price of fuel and a 4% annual rate of interest on the amount invested, the target sum of £360,000 was quickly reached with additional support from the former Richmondshire District Council Community Investment Fund and the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority’s Sustainable Development Fund.
The successful purchase of Dale Head Garage by the local community has meant vital community services such as the Little White Bus, Hawes Post Office, Community Office and Library, can continue to be provided through the Upper Dales Community Partnership who also manage the garage on a day-to-day basis.
Joe Pilling, chair of Upper Dales Community Partnership, said: “The previous owners were always supportive, but we greatly welcome a longer lease from an organisation so firmly rooted in the Upper Dales. It gives us the confidence to develop and innovate, for example with the Little White Car and with practical help to isolated people”.
Mark Sadler, chair of the Dales Head Community Ltd management committee, said: “The last twelve months has seen an incredible amount of hard work go on behind the scenes to secure the future of Dale Head Garage, and it’s a proud moment, twelve months on, to see the first dividend payment approved and issued to everyone who stepped up to help keep the garage a community asset.
“My thanks in particular must go to David Colley, who drove this process through from start to finish and who has been a great support to the newly formed DHC management committee alongside Joe Pilling, Michael McGarry and Peter Metcalfe.”
Looking ahead, DHC and UDCP are now actively considering how Dale Head Garage can be improved and how those improvements are funded. This includes examining how the forecourt might be reconfigured to make it easier for drivers, improvements to the current customer payment system, and exploring the possibility of acquiring land on which to create an electric charging station.