Small business specialist investor IW Capital today announces the completion of a £3.7m investment into Rockwater Hove, a community-driven hospitality venue on Hove’s seafront.
Testament to its community ethos, over £1m of the funding was raised by local residents, many of whom have already been customers over the summer.
The investment comes at a critical time for regional hospitality, with the announcement of tiered lockdown ravaging large parts of the UK’s spread of bars and restaurants, community-driven support, powered by Mayfair based IW Capital leads the charge for the sector’s development through and post Covid-19.
The funds will be used to refurbish the space and create a roof terrace – subject to planning permission – as well as expanding the offering of “Rockwater Life”. The lifestyle and hospitality offering extends to sea swimming, a tennis club, pilates, yoga and other exercise classes to engage the local community. This is in addition to the popular hospitality venue which will also be available for wedding hire and live music.
Rockwater has seen tremendous success over the summer and prior to England’s second national lockdown with the Shacks by the Shore which offered outdoor food, drinks and entertainment to locals and the busy seafront. The Shacks recorded increasing sales in each successive week since opening over the summer with figures competing with recognised high-street brands. The success has relied on great support from thousands of local residents, continuing the theme of a community first pub, owned in part by local residents.
Outdoor trade amid winter restrictions is set to be bolstered by the addition of 30 “igloos” designed to allow families to enjoy the outdoor setting while following Covid guidance and staying warm. One of Rockwater’s key objectives will be to invest heavily in the design and rebranding of the building itself to create a year-round destination venue, giving a well needed stimulus to the winter trade.
Over the course of the year, regional businesses have felt the true impact of the pandemic and the effects of the restrictions put in place. In light of the new tiered system affecting many local businesses across the UK, regional investment and an influx of private capital towards these businesses has become imperative in helping them survive the difficult winter ahead.
Luke Davis, CEO of IW Capital said: “This is a hugely exciting project to be involved with and the success of the Shacks by the Shore in the summer has shown us what a community centric venue can be. As a local resident, I’ve always wanted a place like this near me and from the feedback we have received from people around Hove, this is something that a lot of people want too. The response we received from local investors was incredible and we are really proud to be partly community owned and will continue to take on feedback from local voices to make it the best possible venue for the area.
“Now is actually a really good time to invest in this sector; it has been a really tough year but it has forced us to innovate which has been incredibly important to our success so far. Without that we would not have such a fleshed-out offering already given that the pub itself is yet to open. With seemingly a new Covid vaccine proving effective each week, we could be drawing toward the end of restrictions and a place such as Rockwater is sure to benefit from increased demand and custom in the spring.”