The George & Dragon had been closed for almost a year when villagers came together to form the Hudswell Community Pub initiative and set about raising more than £200,000 to rescue their ‘local’.
More than 160 villagers, friends and supporters backed the plan to become members of the co-operative which will also provide community services including a library, shop, internet access and allotments.
Angela Davies, the Group’s Co-operative Development Manager, said: "The closure of this pub represented more than just another business closing — it was part of the fabric of the community.
“Its survival is a great example of a determined community coming together to look for alternative ways to operate a viable business and their success clearly demonstrates how the co-operative approach can work where other business models have failed.”
Local MP and Foreign Secretary, William Hague – who joined members of his constitutuency and bought shares in the community pub – officially re-opened the George & Dragon earlier this month.
Martin Booth, secretary of the new co-operative, told the News: “The sun shone on us for our official re-opening event. It was a great day. The co-operative model is a very good way of saving the village pub and I’d be very happy for others to learn from us.”
Mike Benner, Chief Executive of the real ale pressure group CAMRA, commented: “CAMRA fully supports the concept of communities buying up their local pub and has for years sought to encourage communities to consider this idea.
“At a time of unprecedented pub closures, it is vital that communities do not lose their social hubs, especially considering the importance of well-run pubs to community life and local economies.”
The Co-operative Enterprise Hub operates through a central website with a network of regional experts providing a tailored package of advice, training and finance to set-up, run and grow sustainable co-operative businesses.
• For further details about the Enterprise Hub and its package of advice, training and finance to help new and existing co-ops become more sustainable businesses, visit www.co-operative.coop/enterprisehub or phone Angela Davies on 0161 246 3020.