Plunkett welcomes renewed Scottish government support for community pubs

Support will include bespoke business and financial advice, free training and peer networking opportunities, and a range of resources

The Scottish government’s Scottish Rural Network Unit is providing further funding to Plunkett Foundation to help the community pub sector.

This follows two rounds of the Scottish Community Pubs Partnership in 2021 and 2022, which has rural community business charity Plunkett has supported 10 community-owned pubs in Scotland as they began trading.

Plunkett says it is working with a further 21 communities at varying stages of their journey into community pub ownership. Through the programme, it aims to grow the network of community-owned pubs across rural Scotland, “enabling them to share learning and build sustainable businesses and employment opportunities”.

Support for community groups through the scheme will include bespoke business and financial advice, free training and peer networking opportunities, and a range of resources to inspire rural communities across Scotland.

Plunkett says the programme aims to showcase the potential for community-owned pubs to be ‘more than a pub’ and tackle rural issues by providing a wider range of services and amenities to their local community, for example through initiatives that address food poverty, promote sustainable lifestyles, or provide volunteering, training and employment opportunities for young people.

Plunkett will work alongside a range of partners, such as Scottish Rural Network, Co-operative Development ScotlandCommunity Shares Scotland and Development Trusts Association Scotland to maximise the support available to communities, and to reach those where there is a lower prevalence of community ownership projects.

The programme also offers the opportunity for early-stage pub projects in rural Scotland to apply for small grants of up to £2,000 to help with initial costs and feasibility work such as setting up legal structures, procuring professional and legal advice, valuations, undertaking market research and joining the Plunkett Foundation as a community business member, in order to benefit from enhanced access to support, resources, events and training.

Claire Spendley, head of community business at Plunkett, said: “Across the UK, we’ve seen first-hand the benefits that community-owned pubs can bring – by creating innovative, inclusive spaces that make a real impact in their local communities. From hosting dementia cafes, food banks, junk food projects and cooking courses to implementing environmentally sustainable initiatives such as e-bike charging, solar PV and repair cafes, we’ve seen community pubs go above and beyond to meet the needs of their local communities. We hope that this programme will encourage more communities across Scotland to do just that.”

For more information, contact Plunkett’s community business advice line on [email protected] or call 01993 630022