The New Inn in Norton Lindsey has existed for hundreds of years and evolved into a popular, quintessential village pub over the last few decades. However, the pub entered a state of decline in the early 2010s following a succession of unsuitable landlords and in 2016, the brewery put the pub up for sale.
With The New Inn’s closure looming on the horizon, villagers began fighting to save it. With the help of the parish council, a campaign group and generous community members, The New Inn was turned into a community asset. ‘The Salvation Squad’ established Norton Community Pub Ltd and rolled out a community share programme, which asked community members to invest between £250 to £20,000. No matter how much each member invested, everyone was granted an equal vote in any decisions made regarding the running of the community pub and stake in something so central to the community.
After amassing 226 shareholders, the community interest company was able to purchase The New Inn in 2016.
Bringing back a key village asset
Grant money from organisations including Power to Change helped to fund the purchase of the pub and encouraged the community to take action. Thanks to the generosity of local residents, around £100,000 worth of refurbishments were able to be completed for just £20,000. “Grants helped us build back the pub from the neglected shell it was,” said Greg Judd, Property Team Leader.
The pub runs events and offers facilities for all ages, including an Enchanted Garden, nature walks, book clubs, bridge evenings and Bonfire Night displays. The New Inn brings together all local people, even those who aren’t regular pubgoers.
Norton Lindsey’s population includes many farmers and the elderly, both groups at risk of isolation. The New Inn hosts OAP lunches – which include pick-up and drop-off services – to tackle loneliness. It has worked with other community pubs – including fellow Power to Change grantee The Anglers Rest – to work out how their projects can continue to provide and prosper.
Coping with Covid
The pandemic was an extremely challenging time for pubs everywhere, but The New Inn survived through robust financial management. During the lockdown in early 2021, the community came together in a Covid-safe way to repaint and refresh the pub, ready for a new period of trading in better times to come.
Further community-led projects planned for the future
Over the next few years, The New Inn hopes to raise funds to open a community shop as soon as possible, building a sustainable and profitable business that will continue providing fantastic community support. The organisation is also hoping to expand its services to include a village café, dry cleaning amenities, and parcel pick-up and drop-off services.