A new network is being created to help put more pubs in community hands and it needs community pub leaders to help lead it.
Plunkett Foundation, which has been supporting rural communities since 1919, is creating a community pub  network funded by Power to Change, the independent trust supporting community businesses in England. The network will offer bespoke support to help community pubs set up and run sustainably. It will provide tailored advice and resources to increase the pub’s local social impact, create more formal opportunities for shared learning on top of Plunkett’s existing advisory services and, importantly, raise national awareness of the community-owned pub model.
18 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.
“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.” added Jenny Sansom, Programme Manager of the More than a Pub programme at Power to Change. “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 CAMRA, the British Institute of Innkeeping, the Beer and Pub Association and Co-operative and Community Finance, a suite 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 will bring together the community pub sector, such as the More than a Pub conference in June and visits to existing community-owned pubs.
“Although more pubs would say they have a community atmosphere, they are not necessarily community-owned and shaped.” explains Jenny Sansom. “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.”
The network will become the ‘go to’ place for all community pub needs and will play a key role in helping inspire and enable community pubs to work more collaboratively across the sector to improve their sustainability and viability. A core aim of the network will be to support the day to day management of a community pub, and to help enable greater investment of time and resource into increasing social impact in their locality.
Plunkett are now looking for community pub representatives to join the network’s steering group to help shape the design of the network and the support it delivers. For more information and to express your interest in joining the network steering group, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Media Enquiries please contact:
Ashley Sellwood, 01993 810730 / Ashley.Sellwood@Plunkett.co.uk
Photos to accompany this release can be found here (CREDIT: Plunkett Foundation):
Logos for Plunkett Foundation and Power to Change can be found here:
Notes to Editors:
 What are community pubs?
Since 1919, Plunkett Foundation has been advocating the co-operative approach to overcome problems and challenges community face. A community pub is just that – it’s a business owned and controlled by a large number of people from within the community with the primary purpose of stimulating community cohesion.
Communities have been running drinking establishments for decades, with working men’s clubs, sports and social clubs all having existed as member-owned entities. But community pubs are different. They are owned by members (also known as shareholders), where membership is both voluntary and open to all. This is important in Plunkett’s view, as it ensures everybody has the opportunity to have a say about what’s important to them regardless of their backgrounds.
Further information on community pubs can be found in Plunkett’s Better Business Report:
Plunkett Foundation (www.plunkett.co.uk) helps communities to take control of their challenges and overcome them together. We support people, predominantly in rural areas, to set up and run life-changing community co-operatives; enterprises that are owned and run democratically by large numbers of people in their community. They help people to tackle a range of issues, from isolation and loneliness to poverty, and come in many forms including shops, cafes, pubs and land-based initiatives, and everything in between.
Power to Change is an independent trust, whose funding is used to strengthen community businesses across England. At a time when many parts of the UK face cuts, neglect and social problems, we are helping local people come together to take control, and make sure their local areas survive and stay vibrant. http://www.powertochange.org.uk/