A major new funding programme from Power to Change has been announced to help communities seeking to save their local pub through community ownership.
This funding builds on the success of the current More Than a Pub programme, which is jointly funded by Power to Change and Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government, led by Plunkett Foundation in collaboration with Key Fund, Co-operative and Community Finance, The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), Co-operative Mutual Solutions, Pub is the Hub, Locality and the British Beer and Pub Association. To date, the MTAP programme has supported 190 communities and seen 26 pubs open their doors under community ownership since 2016.
The community pub sector is not only thriving, it is bucking wider negative industry trends. Almost a quarter of privately-owned pubs has shut down since 2008, but community pubs have a 100% success rate.
Opening a pub under community ownership not only protects a valuable asset but also brings a wealth of social benefits and improves the wellbeing of local people, including those who socially excluded or isolated in the wider community in particular. Community pubs offer a range of services ranging from retail and post office, social clubs and volunteering opportunities.
The new programme will be active from Summer 2019 with further details to be announced in Spring 2019. This announcement indicates the commitment and support from both Power to Change and Plunkett to create a thriving community pub sector.
96 communities have already successfully opened their local pub under community ownership of their local pub, and many more currently working with the More than a Pub Programme have been listed as ‘assets of community value’ under community rights, highlighting the important role that pubs play in local communities.
Vidhya Alakeson, Chief Executive of Power to Change, said: “Community-run pubs are so valuable to the people who use them, offering a huge range of crucial services including lunch clubs for vulnerable people, training and development, gardening and cooking classes and parenting groups. The More than a Pub programme we have run with Plunkett has been an enormous success so it was a natural decision for us to continue to support this thriving and much-loved sector.”
James Alcock, Executive Director of Plunkett Foundation, said: “This announcement is an endorsement of the role community pubs play in creating thriving communities and will strengthen the community pub sector by providing further support for those working to the tide on pub closures. For many, pubs are not just a place to drink; they are central to peoples’ sense of place and identity, they provide an important space for people to meet and help to build community cohesion.”
Community Pubs Minister Jake Berry said: “Pubs have and will continue to be at the very heart of our communities. The More Than a Pub programme is a fantastic example of communities taking ownership of their local assets, and it’s great to see Power to Change supporting their innovative work for another year. I look forward to the continued partnership work in boosting the ever important agenda of empowering our local communities.”
 In 2018 ONS research showed that UK almost a quarter of pubs had closed since 2008 in the UK.
 What is a community pub?
Community pubs are owned by members (sometimes known as shareholders) and are run democratically on the basis of one-member-one-vote. Membership is voluntary, affordable, and open to all in a community, and is the mechanism for ensuring the community has a genuine say in how the business is run. This is what gives community pubs longevity, as member control and input ensures the pub business is continually adapting and serving the needs of its members and wider community.
More than a Pub: The Community Pub Business Support Programme is a unique three year programme established to help support community ownership of pubs in England. Its value is £3.85 million and is jointly funded by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government and the Power to Change Trust. This exciting programme is led by Plunkett Foundation and delivered in collaboration with Co-operative & Community Finance, Key Fund, the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), Co-operative Mutual Solutions, Pub is the Hub and Locality. It offers the community pub sector access to an end-to-end support programme including capacity building and a finance package made up of loans and grants.
The Plunkett Foundation helps rural communities UK-wide to tackle the issues they face, through promoting and supporting community business. Community businesses are enterprises that are owned and run democratically by members of the community and others, on behalf of the community. They come in many forms, including shops, pubs, woodlands and anything which lends itself to community ownership. In addition to developing and safeguarding valuable assets and services, community businesses address a range of issues including isolation, loneliness, wellbeing, work and training.
About the Big Lottery Fund
The Big Lottery Fund supports the aspirations of people who want to make life better for their communities across the UK. We are responsible for giving out 40% of the money raised by the National Lottery and invest over £650 million a year in projects big and small in health, education, environment and charitable purposes. Since June 2004, we have awarded over £8 billion to projects that change the lives of millions of people. Every year we fund 13,000 small local projects tackling big social problems like poor mental health and homelessness.
Since the National Lottery began in 1994, £34 billion has been raised and more than 450,000 grants awarded.