The new community pub network will offer bespoke support to help community pubs operate sustainably while providing advice and resources to increase the pub’s social impact within it's community, create more formal opportunities for shared learning, and raise awareness of the community-owned pub model.
Harriet English, head of engagement at Plunkett, commented: “Eighteen pubs are closing a week according to CAMRA and leaving big gaps at the heart of communities.
“In comparison, community pubs have a 100% survival rate.
“We need to act now to put more into community ownership and turn them into more than a pub.”
Jenny Sansom, programme manager of the More than a Pub programme at Power to Change, added: “We’ve already helped 21 community owned pubs open through the More than a Pub programme with Plunkett, but there are many more that could be saved.
“Much more than just a place to drink, these are hubs that can bring back the heart to many communities, hollowed out by the loss of local services.
“And it's not just funding that communities wanting to save their pub value, it’s also the knowledge they get from connecting with others who have done it before.”
In collaboration with other leading experts in the pubs sector, including the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), the British Institute of Innkeeping (BII), the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) and Co-operative & Community Finance, a range of specialist resources and training modules will be created to make it even easier for communities to buy and run their local.
Regular networking events, such as the More than a Pub conference in June and visits to existing community-owned pubs, will bring the sector together more regularly under the new network.
Sansom added: “Although more pubs would say they have a community atmosphere, they are not necessarily community-owned and shaped.
“Pubs are wonderful spaces for people to gather, but it doesn’t have to be around a pint.
“Community pubs are running vital services local people need, including post offices, prescription collection services, training schemes, IT clubs, childcare… and up till now they have not had a formal network to be a part of that meets the complex needs of running a community pub.”
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