Rallying cry for more communities to run pubs in bid to save locals

HRH The Prince of Wales visiting the White Horse pub, a community pub, in Upton near Acle, Norfolk.

HRH The Prince of Wales visiting the White Horse pub, a community pub, in Upton near Acle, Norfolk. Picture: James Bass. - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2016

Pub bosses are today issuing a challenges to you and to your community - get involved to safeguard the future of your local.

More and more groups of people across Norfolk are joining forces to take ownership of their favourite pubs, saving them from closure and giving them new vibrancy.

But, with pub closures continuing at an alarming rate, more communities are today being urged to make it personal by backing their own watering hole.

Abbie Panks, vice chairman of Shouldham Community Enterprises, which runs The KIng's Arms at Shouldham, said: 'There's never a better time for people to get together and open a community venture: not only is there so much help and advice available now, but the biggest value lies with the communities social benefits.'

Ian Stamp, Norwich and Norfolk Camra branch chairman said: 'Community pubs are very successful, one of the most important things with pubs is getting the community involved and if the community are the owners then that's a lot easier.'

Adding that communities taking on the running of their pubs was one of the best ways of slowing pub closures, Mr Stamp added; 'Going by the rest of the country we don't have that many community pubs in Norfolk, but if we can get communities involved in their pubs they can be very successful.'

In 2012, when the King's Arms in Shouldham near King's Lynn closed and was put up for sale by the then owners, locals saw an opportunity.

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Working with the Plunkett Foundation - a charity helping rural communities to combat issues affecting them - the village rallied around raising enough money to buy the pub and reopen it as a community asset, making it the first of its kind in West Norfolk.

Since then, groups in Upton, Garboldisham, and Redgrave have followed suit, raising the necessary funds to purchase their local pubs and turn them into community assets.

Eddie Theaker, a director of The Fox Inn in Garboldisham, which opened as a community pub in 2016, said: 'I think communities should get involved with their local pubs because they are the heart and soul of small communities.

'It's not easy, you have to work really hard but the rewards are certainly worth it. Community pubs bring people together.'

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