Villagers rally to save The Cross Keys pub
PUBLISHED: 08:00 30 October 2017 | UPDATED: 15:45 01 November 2017
Archant Norfolk 2017
When the future of their village pub was under threat, this community was not prepared to stand by and watch it close.
So villagers rallied to try and help save the Cross Keys in Redgrave, near Diss, by donating money and holding fundraisers.
Once they had the funds, they had to go through the arduous process of setting up a company, Redgrave Community Society Limited, to buy the pub as a community asset.
But the months of effort and hard work have paid off as the village celebrated taking ownership of pub, in principle. Subject to legal matters the community group will soon hope to receive the keys.
Committee member Fiona Kenworthy praised the spirit shown by villagers.
She said: “What has been really lovely is the way people who perhaps did not know each other before have got to know each other through the common goal.”
The Don’t Lose The Keys campaign caught the imagination of the village, with banners put up around various places. A totaliser, in the shape of a pint of beer, was built to display the amount raised of the £300,000 needed to purchase the Grade-II building.
Mrs Kenworthy said she could not disclose exact figures but the majority of money was raised through the villagers. Grants and loans were also sought.
“It is one of those places which is situated in this beautiful village,” she said. “There is the green around it, the duck pond and the village shop. It is a beautiful village with all these thatched cottages. There is no way we could allow it to close - it would be madness.”
She added: “It has already done so much to make the community more cohesive. It is a common interest.”
Mrs Kenworthy said the Redgrave Community Society’s next move is to see what the community wants.
Committee chairman Neil Smith also praised the help received from Peter and Lynne Smith from The Fox Inn, Garboldisham.
Last year the Garboldisham Fox Community Interest Company successful took ownership of the pub which had stood empty for nine years. It is now going from strength to strength.
The Fox Inn success story
Just over a year ago a community group acquired The Fox Inn, Garboldisham, near Diss.
The village’s pub had stood empty for nine years, during which the community fought hard to fend off applications to change the use of the pub and make it once again the heart of the community.
Their dream was achieved in October 2016 when the Garboldisham Fox Community Interest Company were given the keys to the Grade-II listed pub.
In December last year a micropub was launched for the villagers to enjoy the pub while works to restore the building take place.
It is currently open three days a week and includes a gin bar and a number of local ales.
Fundraising for the £180,000 saw £85,000 raised by the community, 66 people became shareholders, and the rest came from loans.
There are now 106 shareholders and 30 volunteers who give up their time to work at the pub.