Eastender's Queen Vic storyline inspires 'save your local' advice

By Georgina Townshend

- Last updated on GMT

In trouble: Eastender's pub the Queen Victoria is under threat (Image: Matt Pearson)
In trouble: Eastender's pub the Queen Victoria is under threat (Image: Matt Pearson)

Related tags Public house

As BBC's Eastender's beloved public house, the Queen Vic's, future is under threat, campaign groups including Crowdfunder and the Plunkett Foundation have taken to social media to give advice and tips on how to save struggling pubs across the country.

One of the latest storylines in the BBC's long-running soap opera Eastenders, has seen landlords Mick (Danny Dyer)​ and Linda Carter (Kellie Bright)​ presented with a huge list of repairs, and an even bigger bill, by the company who are officially part-owners of the programme's iconic pub.

As a result, the couple have turned to the residents of Walford to ask them for help through a crowdfunding campaign – in the hopes of saving their home, and stopping the pub from being bulldozed to build flats.

In response to the plot, Crowdfunder said it "knew a thing or two" about saving community pubs and offered crowdfunding tips​ to Mick'n'Linda - and pubs across the country.

Tips include build your team, plan your project, engage with your community, looking at extra funds, and just get going.

It advised: "You’ve identified the cause, a community-centred pub in this case, and now you need to get people involved. The best thing about a community project is in the name – it’s all about community!

"Having a team with varied ages and skill sets can ensure that you will have all bases covered.

"Think about your strengths and weaknesses – are there any gaps in your own skillset that need to be filled? The core team behind great crowdfunding projects is usually made up of two to five key people, so think about who you want on board and play to everyone’s strengths."

According to Crowdfunder, there are two types of projects that can benefit from crowdfunding to save a local pub. These are a crowdfunding project to raise funds for a community project (a project that is of benefit to the local community), or a crowdfunding project to raise funds for a community share (where the community become the owners of the pub).

“With new figures revealing that as many as 29 pubs are being closed down each week, the recent #SaveTheVic storyline has highlighted a very real economic issue that pubs throughout the whole of the UK are struggling with," said a Crowdfunder spokesman.

"However, Crowdfunder is helping communities to rally together, fight back and crowdfund for the funds needed to save the institution which remains at the heart of Britain’s social centre. We've brought the community shares process online for the first time, and have helped pubs like Gardeners Rest​ to raise the money that they need to preserve their community asset.”

They added: "Through our Crowdfunder campaigns, we figured out that 436,800 pints have been served that would not have been if the pubs had closed." 

The Plunkett Foundation, an organisation that supports predominately rural communities to "take control of their challenges", also took to social media to highlight how pubs across the country are suffering like the Queen Vic – but how communities have managed to bring them back to life.

Examples include the Gardeners Rest pub, in Neepsend, Sheffield, where the Gardeners Rest Community Society raised £237,600 with 382 investors to save the pub, and the Kings Head in Pebmarsh, Essex, where villagers raised £300,000 to save it.

Recently, The Morning Advertiser​ reported on how villagers in Cefn Cribwr, near Bridgend in south Wales, helped save their last remaining pub​, the Three Horse Shoes, by raising £72,000 in just two weeks.

The organisation also tweeted information about its campaign, titled More Than a Pub: The Community Pub Business Support Programme​ - a two-year programme established to help support community ownership of pubs in England.

The value of the campaign is £3.62m and is jointly funded by the Department for Communities & Local Government and Power to Change.

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