The government has announced a new £1.5 million fund to support community pubs. The funding will help an estimated 100 new groups to take ownership of and save their local pub or support their essential community services based in pubs in rural and remote areas.
The £1.15 million fund will support community pubs through two key programmes.
£650,000 will be allocated to the More Than a Pub programme which provides small grants and specialist advice for community groups at the start of their journey to community ownership. It also supports groups later in the process who require specialist professional advice with larger grants and loans to help with business planning, conveyancing, architectural help or financial advice.
£500,000 will be allocated to Pub is The Hub to enable a range of projects providing new, pub-based community services from post offices and shops to libraries and allotments. This will increase the services available in rural and remote communities and help sustain pubs as community assets and businesses.
The Dog Inn at Belthorn near Blackburn has been supported by the government supported More Than A Pub and Pub Is The Hub Programmes.
In the past, the village of Belthorn had over 10 pubs, a shop, tearoom, chip shop, newsagent and community centre. But, by November 2015, all those community amenities had disappeared.
At the end of 2015, the residents of Belthorn took the collective step to bring the heart of the community back into the village via The Dog Inn by co-locating all the services and amenities that had long since disappeared.
The residents of Belthorn benefitted from a Pub is The Hub grant of £4,000 to create a community café, as well as helping the community to purchase equipment to make presentations in the community meeting room where village group meetings are now held. Work is also underway on a community garden and allotments by the pub.
As a result of the funding, the Belthorn now boasts a vibrant village committee, a history society group and a craft and chat group all of which meet regularly in The Dog Inn.