Hindringham is a small rural village, 8 miles from Fakenham in Norfolk, with a population of just 360 and until recently it was a village without a pub. Hindringham lost its last pub in 1968, when The Red Lion closed its doors and it wasn’t until 2011 that this situation changed. The Parish Council owned the old sports and social club which stood on the playing field, and thanks to a £200,000 fundraising drive in the village and many hours of hard work from the Hindringham Playing Field Committee, The Hindringham Pavilion Free House opened, run by the community.
The Pavilion is now the centre for sporting activities, fetes and fundraising events for local charities. The Pavilion Committee became interested in expanding these services after hearing about the “Pub is The Hub” initiative. Norfolk County Council had created a fund to support Norfolk pubs developing community services working with Pub is The Hub, and The Pavilion Committee came up with the idea of a Book exchange plus archive storage and a Senior Citizens’ lunch club.
Prior to this, the village archives were kept in a boiler house, and if anyone wanted to research their ancestry, it was a case of rummaging through old cardboard boxes. Documents are now housed in box files on purpose built shelves, accessible to all. The new and popular book exchange enables young and old to browse in comfortable new chairs, read, socialise and borrow books to take home. The new Luncheon Club is also a successful addition, providing a safe and supportive environment for the elderly to enjoy wholesome food and convivial company at a price they can afford. The project combats social isolation and The Pavilion has become the hub of its community.
Lessons to Learn
- Local Authority backing gave a kick start to these projects.
- The Playing Field Committee ensured the licensees and villagers were all pulling together.
- Community involvement and addressing issues of social isolation.
- Generating a positive perception of the pub, through Pub is The Hub, supported by The Prince’s Countryside Fund.
Total Project Capital Costs: £2,000
Norfolk County Council Grant: £1,000
Playing Fields Committee: £1,000