The fund, overseen by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, aims to help local community groups protect local assets that are at a risk of being lost.
The Vale of Aeron pub in Ystrad Aeron, Wales, which was a favourite haunt of poet Dylan Thomas, has been given £300,000 for renovations to keep it open and make it accessible for the whole community.
UKH chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “This £12.3m in funding, with £1.2m earmarked specifically for four pubs, is really positive news. For the pubs in receipt of grants this will no doubt prove a lifeline at a time when trading can be tough and enable them to continue serving their communities.
“In addition to this, the boost to tourism that will come from the new tourist railway line in Yorkshire, which is to receive £1m to rebuild the line between Keighley and Oxenhope, will be a massive boon to hospitality businesses of all kinds in the region. Local hotels, restaurants, pubs and attractions will be able to look positively to the future and invest in job creation and the local area."
Supporting the sector
She continued: “This kind of targeted government investment is crucial to support hospitality, both directly and indirectly, and we hope the sector can continue to benefit from initiatives like the Community Ownership Fund.”
The Minister for Levelling Up Jacob Young said: “Our priority is to support communities and deliver opportunities right across the country, which is why we’re investing £12.3m to secure the future of cherished community institutions.
These places – from pubs to historic railway lines – are the golden thread which run through our social fabric, and keeping them going is vital for supporting communities.”
The Community Ownership Fund has now given £49.3 million for 195 projects across the UK. This includes almost £8 million for thirty-three pubs so that local people can still go to their beloved local, and £14.6 million for sixty six community centres so they can continue to play an important role in people’s lives.
The latest round of allocations includes £770,057 for three projects in Wales, £992,825 for four projects in Scotland and more than £1m for four projects in Northern Ireland.
The George pub in Kent previously benefited from a £250,000 grant from the fund, which allowed it to reopen in May 2023.
The pub shut during the pandemic and the owners decided to sell up and retire, but locals were able to get the doors open again because of the funding and are now planning for the future.
The Community Ownership Fund is currently open again for bids and will close on 11th October 2023, and groups are being urged to apply for up to £2m in funding for the very first time.