The King’s Head is situated in the village of Lingwood close to the Norfolk Broads, and although there is a population of over 2,500 it is the only pub in the village. Publican Terry Holt has been the owner since January 2010, previously a teacher of technology and maths at Acle High School for 33 years. He had always been very keen to help the community during his teaching years and when he took over the pub he was still of the same mind. Therefore, when the village hall was being relocated to new premises and the cafe volunteers and customers wanted to stay in the same vicinity, Terry offered the King’s Head to be their new home. The reality then struck home that some of the more elderly and infirm wheelchair bound customers couldn’t access the newly installed café because of the different floor levels and also the toilets were inadequate for their needs.
Terry quickly realised the enormity of the task ahead and made contact with Pub is The Hub and, with their advice and support with Norfolk County Council’s funding he decided to go ahead with the project. Work then started on making all areas accessible to wheelchairs. The different floor levels from the pubs entrance to the bar and through to the restaurant, function room and beer-garden, coupled with the need to upgrade the toilets, meant major structural alterations were ongoing for quite a while. Some walls had to be removed and it necessitated the closing of the main roadside entrance to make way for the new toilets.
Terry never wavered from the task; doing much of the work himself and thanks to his efforts wheelchair bound customers can now move from room to room with no obstacles. Customers from the nearby old people’s bungalows don’t feel discriminated against any more because they couldn’t use their local, and these days they and their carers are now able to use the King’s Head which is fully accessible. Terry also intends to set-up a Senior Citizens Luncheon Club for the winter months helping to combat isolation and loneliness for the more vulnerable and making the King’s Head a true village hub.
LESSONS TO LEARN
- This type of project needs a proactive licensee helping the community with support from the Parish Council and residents.
- Local Authority funding was crucial in providing some funding towards the cost.
- The community and pub have both benefited from better accessibility for frail and the infirm residents who can now use the pub.
- The project has generated a positive perception of the pub helped through Pub is The Hub and supported by the Prince’s Countryside Fund.
|Total Capital Costs||£20,250|
|Norfolk County Council Grant||£4,000|