Search begins for manager of community-owned Norfolk village pub

09:00 16 January 2014

Outside The King

Outside The King's Arms in Shouldham are (from left) Keith Matthews, Alan Austin, Andy Everitt, Nick Hart, Maureen Austin and John McGourty. Picture: Ian Burt

Archant © 2014

Villagers have begun the all-important search for the person or people who will run the beloved 17th century pub they bought together as a community.

Residents in Shouldham have just been handed the keys to the King’s Arms overlooking the village green after a spirited campaign to save it from permanent closure after it unexpedtedly shut in the summer of 2012.

Having raised the money by selling shares to members of the public, it means the new manager and chef will be “at the forefront of a new country-wide movement of community ownership”.

The job description for the new manager and chef reads: “The success of the whole venture is dependent upon appointing the right person(s) who will embrace the vision for the pub.”

Although they must be “dynamic and entrepreneurial” and “full of ideas to run a profitable enterprise”, villagers say: “They must also be sensitive to the special place that the King’s Arms has in Shouldham and its planned extended role in the community.”

As well as the good interpersonal and front-of-house skills that would be expected of any pub manager, applicants are expected to “be open to performing community roles”, such as possibly cooking school meals using the pub’s kitchen. A large part of the role will also include managing volunteers.

John McGourty, chairman of the Save Our King’s Arms (SOKA) group formed to buy the pub, added that villagers were looking for “someone who wants to be part of the community”.

They will also have the benefit of live-in accommodation above the pub.

Having stood empty for the past 18 months, the King’s Arms is about to be fully refurbished ready for the planned re-opening sometime in the spring.

Those interested in the job have until January 31 to email with a curriculum vitae and details of two referees, who would be contacted after an appointment is made.

A SOKA sub-committee will interview candidates before a final decision is made.

Are you organising a community project in West Norfolk? Contact reporter Andrew Papworth on 01553 778681 or email


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