New help for communities to run pubs

By John Harrington

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Cumbria, England

Cameron: pubs are a community asset
Cameron: pubs are a community asset
David Cameron has announced new resources to help local people take over "community assets" such as pubs. Government officials will be made...

David Cameron has announced new resources to help local people take over "community assets" such as pubs.

Government officials will be made available to help community groups that want to run pubs. Communities will also get help to identify and fund a "community organiser" for such schemes.

Cameron has announced the move for four parts of the country — Eden Valley in Cumbria, Windsor and Maidenhead in Berkshire, the London Borough of Sutton and Liverpool — but has asked communities elsewhere to come forward too.

It will be funded by money from dormant bank accounts, alongside private sector money, which will add up to "hundreds of millions of pounds" over time.

At a speech in Liverpool today, Cameron said the four communities mentioned would be the "great training grounds" of his Big Society project.

"They are all from very different places. Rural, suburban, urban. They're led by different sorts of people. And they've got different ideas.

"From devolving budgets to street-level, to developing local transport services, taking over local assets such as a pub, piloting open-source planning, delivering broadband to local communities, generating their own energy.

"But they've all got one thing in common: a firm commitment from this Government to help them realise their dreams.

"To help them, we will make available officials from the Department of Communities and Local Government.

"If there's a problem or obstacle or bureaucratic log-jam, they will be there, on hand, to help break them down and get things moving.

"And we'll also work with communities to help identify and fund a community organiser for each area.

"These will be trained people who know how to stimulate and organise local support for — and involvement in — community action."

He added: "This does not start and end with these four areas.

"I want other forward-thinking, entrepreneurial, community-minded people and neighbourhoods in our country to come forward and ask for the same freedoms, the same support too.

"If you've got an idea to make life better, if you want to improve your local area, don't just think about it - tell us what you want to do and we will try and give you the tools to make this happen.

"I passionately believe we have begun here will spread right across our country — covering it in innovation, local inspiration and civic action."

Eden Valley is the home of reportedly the first "co-op" pub, the Old Crown in Hesket Newmarket. It was bought by 125 customers in 2003, with extra funding from Cumbria County Council and the Lake District National Park.

A council spokesman said the region's new MP, Conservative Rory Stewart, has been "lobbying informally" for Eden Valley to be included in the pilot.

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