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‘We did it!’ - Campaign to save last pub in village reaches target

PUBLISHED: 12:12 01 October 2020 | UPDATED: 12:12 01 October 2020

Alex Begg in front of the Swan pub in Gressenhall, which he and others are hoping to reopen as a community pub. Picture: Tony Buckingham

Alex Begg in front of the Swan pub in Gressenhall, which he and others are hoping to reopen as a community pub. Picture: Tony Buckingham

© Tony Buckingham/ UNP 0845 600 7737

A fund-raising campaign to save the last pub in a village has raised enough to purchase and refurbish the building.

Gressenhall Community Enterprise, which aims to buy and reopen the White Swan, have successfully raised £260,000 in community share sales in just six weeks.

The news comes days after the campaign team announced it will receive an £100,000 equal-parts grant and loan from the More than a Pub scheme run by the Plunkett Foundation, which supports rural communities and businesses.

The money from the community shares and grant gives the campaign group enough money to buy and refurbish the pub, which has been vacant since it closed in 2018.

Alex Begg, chairman of the Gressenhall Community Enterprise Group, said: “Thanks to 420 wonderful investors we have raised an incredible £260,000 in community share sales in just six weeks.

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“Investors have mainly come from Gressenhall and the surrounding area but we have also had a few living much further afield, including Greece and the United States, who have connections with the village. This means that this share offer is fully subscribed, a truly remarkable achievement.

“On top of that we have also been awarded £100,000 by the More than a Pub scheme run by the Plunkett Foundation.

“We now have enough capital to buy and totally refurbish the White Swan in Gressenhall, transforming it into a vibrant hub to meet, eat and drink.”

The Gressenhall Community Enterprise team hope to turn the pub into a community hub - following in the footsteps of thousands of other village pubs and shops across the country, including several in Norfolk, which are now run by their communities.

Mr Begg said: “It is heart-warming to see what a community can do when it comes together with a shared aim. But now the hard work really begins.

“I would thank everyone that has invested their money, their time and their expertise to help get us get this far and I look forward to raising a glass with everyone when the transformed pub reopens later next year.”

To find out more about the project, visit www.saveourswan.co.uk


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