The Oyster Inn is situated in the small village of Butley, 7 miles from Woodbridge, Suffolk, and was the focal point for this rural community, having been licensed since 1617, until it sadly closed in 2012. The pub remained closed for almost 5 years until Judi and Andrew Newman took the brave step to reopen this 400 year old pub. After much hard work the pub reopened on 17th March 2017 as a traditional village pub selling real ale and wholesome food. They are also employing local people.
The Newmans had ambitious plans to convert the derelict barns at the rear of the pub: Over 2017 they converted and refurbished a barn at the rear of the pub into a cinema/multifunctional community room, a micro-brewery, a holiday-let and village store for long-term sustainability of The Oyster Inn and the social and economic well-being of the community.
With this in mind, Judi made contact with Pub is The Hub and with their support and advice work began for these much needed village services. In November 2017 they were also awarded a much-needed grant of £25,000 from The Prince’s Countryside Fund in partnership with People’s Postcode Lottery . This, coupled with Pub is The Hub’s Community Services Fund grant of £3,000 was invaluable in supporting this project.
- After an absence of over 30 years the Village Store is a welcome sight for the residents providing essential supplies.
- The cinema is now proving very popular with young families, and a film club has been established, and this multifunctional room is attracting local businesses for training, meetings etc.
- The micro-brewery is helping to drive the overheads of the pub down by removing the margins of bought beer from other breweries.
- The Oyster Inn employs local people, is reducing the carbon footprint with less car use, and helping to combat isolation and loneliness by bringing the whole community together.
- The Oyster Inn is now the must-stop place for cyclists, walkers, birdwatchers and tourist to the Suffolk Heritage Coast.
With all these factors assisting with the long-term sustainability of the pub, and making The Oyster Inn the hub of the village.
LESSONS TO LEARN
- Owners with a clear vision to provide facilities for the community and longevity of the pub.
- Less car use giving an environmental saving to the whole community.
- Inclusive policy bringing everyone together to socialise thereby reducing loneliness and isolation.
- Generating a positive perception of the pub, through Pub is The Hub supported by The Prince’s Countryside Fund and the People’s Postcode Lottery.
|Total Cost of converting the barns||£203,000|
|Pub is The Hub Community Services Fund grant||£3,000|
|The Prince’s Countryside Fund with the Peoples’ Postcode Lottery grant||£25,000|