The Horse and Groom is the only pub in the rural village of Tunstead, situated 11 miles north east of the city of Norwich, and close to the Norfolk Broads.
The pub had been closed for 6 months when Gilly Foulds purchased the pub in May 2017. Gilly had lived in the village for over 30 years but was new to the licensed trade. Her background is in farming and running her own craft and haberdashery shop so she took a leap of faith when she purchased the pub.
Gilly was passionate about returning The Horse and Groom to the hub of the village having seen several businesses try and fail to sustain restaurants and even, at one stage, a bike shop at the premises.
When she heard about Norfolk County Council’s initiative with Pub is The Hub to help rural Norfolk pubs to diversify, she made contact with the local adviser about adding new community facilities at the pub. However, she soon realised that she needed to focus on getting the pub up and running so put the ideas on hold to concentrate on the pub.
Two years later, she revisited her ideas to create a games room in the adjoining barn and a book and jigsaw exchange in a bar linking the main pub to the barn. A coffee machine was also installed along with comfortable chairs, sofas and coffee tables allowing people to sit and enjoy their drinks in more comfort. In busier times it is also a useful overflow for diners.
- The new facilities are encouraging regular attendance by local and visitors.
- Villagers hold regular meetings in the pub, and they and the wider community appreciate and are enjoying the games that are now on offer.
- The book exchange is in the ideal place just inside the entrance to the bar area so that most of the customers pass by the bookcase.
- Overall, the Horse and Groom has an inclusive policy making everyone welcome including their dogs. They provide homemade meals using locally sourced produce wherever possible, including from Gilly’s own garden.
Lessons to Learn
- A licensee new to the trade took her time to get the pub business in good order before diversifying further.
- Providing facilities like games, books and hot drinks during the day helps to combat loneliness and isolation.
- This project has enhanced the sustainability of the pub and generates a positive perception of the pub by the community.
|Total cost of the project||£19,053|
|Community Services Grant||£3,000|