Community support trust, the Plunkett foundation has relaunched the More than a Pub programme, a new round of support and finance that will help community groups across England looking to take ownership of their local pub.
Run by lottery-funded trust Power to Change, and delivered by Plunkett, the programme builds on the success of the first round of the More Than a Pub programme, which supported 190 communities and saw 28 pubs open their doors under community ownership from 2016 to 2019.
It will offer flexible bursary awards to fund very early stage activity, such as community consultation work, and a grant and loan package to help pubs reach the open and trading stage. The programme will support new start projects and already open pubs, where they advance a charitable purpose to benefit their communities.
Community pubs are thriving where private companies has struggled; almost a quarter privately-owned pubs have shut down since 2008 according to the Office for National Statistics, whereas community pubs have a 100% success rate according to statistics from the foundation.
Vidhya Alakeson, chief executive of Power to Change, said: “Pubs are often the last hub in their community. They are important places where people come together and they provide a diversity of services, including lunch clubs for vulnerable people, training and development, gardening and cooking classes and parenting groups.
“Community pubs are so valuable to the people who use them. The first round of the More than a Pub programme we ran with Plunkett was 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, added: “Plunkett is delighted to be launching the return of More Than a Pub; in its first iteration, this programme significantly increased the number of community-owned pubs open and trading, bringing far reaching benefits to local people.
“This second round of funding will mean that we can build on the momentum and success of the existing community pub sector and help many more community groups seeking to take ownership of their local pub to save them from closure. 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.”