‘More than a Pub’ programme extended

A major support and finance programme helping communities to take control of their local pub for the benefit of the community has been extended until March 2019, it has been announced today (23 February 2018) by Community Pubs Minister Jake Berry.

More than a Pub: The Community Pub Business Support Programme was launched in March 2016 as a two-year programme in response to the large number of pubs that were closing and the impact this was having on the communities they served.

The programme provides a comprehensive package of business development support, advice plus loan and grant funding delivered to community groups in England to help them establish community-owned pubs. Jointly funded by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government and Power to Change, the programme is led by Plunkett Foundation and delivered in collaboration with Co-operative & Community Finance, Keyfund and other leading organisations within the sector.

Over 50 communities across England have already successfully taken ownership of their local pub, and a further 61 that are 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. For the 18 pubs opened under the programme so far, nearly 3,000 local people have contributed an additional £3.7m in community shares.

The programme offers a flexible package of support including access to an advice line, events, workshops, peer-to-peer study visits, and business development advice. It also offers flexible bursary awards to fund early stage activity, such as community consultation work, and a grant and loan package.

The programme supports pubs where they advance a charitable purpose to benefit their communities by, for example:
• providing regeneration through access to public services and amenities to those who are socially excluded;
• promoting employment, education and training in areas of high social need;
• encouraging volunteering, citizenship and community development as a hub for community groups.

Community Pubs Minister Jake Berry said: “Our Great British pubs are a national asset, providing thousands of jobs and boosting the economy by £21 billion a year. And I’m delighted to announce this extension to the More than a Pub programme which will build upon the Government’s commitment to keep pubs at the heart of our villages, towns and cities and I look forward to hearing more success stories in the months to come.”

Vidhya Alakeson, Chief Executive of Power to Change, said: “We are delighted to be partners in this effort to accelerate the number of community-owned pubs that can tackle problems of urban and rural disadvantage. By acting as hubs for a multitude of activities in their local communities, community-owned pubs can make a significant contribution to reducing isolation, improving well-being and providing access to basic services. They can bring the heart back to many communities that have been hollowed out by the loss of local services.”

James Alcock, General Manager of Plunkett Foundation, said: “This programme has already significantly increased the number of community-owned pubs open and trading, bringing far-reaching benefits to local people. For many communities, pubs are not just a place to drink; they are central to peoples’ sense of place and identity, they provide an important place for people to meet and help to build community cohesion.”

To find out more about the More than a Pub programme please call the programme advice line on 01993 810730 or visit www.plunkett.co.uk/more-than-a-pub.

[Picture caption: The reopening of the Duke of Marlborough, Somersham, under community ownership in 2017. It was the first pub to receive a loan from Co-operative & Community Finance via More than a Pub.]