The Locks Inn is an iconic pub situated on the Norfolk/Suffolk border, in a remote part of the Waveney Valley. The pub had been closed for two years when it came up for auction during the Covid-19 pandemic
It was purchased on 4 November 2020 by The Locks Inn Community Pub Ltd, a group with 1,400 shareholders who managed to raise £600,000. The group used the money to purchase the pub and invest in major repairs
The Locks Inn Community Pub Committee were keen on making sure that all the facilities that were requested by people living in the local area were catered for including music and cultural events.
The group contacted Pub is The Hub for advice and after working with regional adviser Terry Stork they decided to create a designated area with community café facilities.
The pub is also creating an area designated for Tourist Information, a room that is large enough for meetings and businesses to use for conferences.
The aim for the community café, which offers a range of coffees, cakes and sausage rolls, was to create a social hub for local residents and visitors alike. The café encourages people who may be experiencing social isolation or feelings of loneliness to come along and connect with others.
Outcomes so far
- It has its own designated entrance, which has proved to be a big success for those who prefer a more relaxed atmosphere than the main pub.
- The Tourist Information area, which includes maps of the local area, helps to attract many walkers passing-by.
- Local charities and care home residents including those with dementia have all been welcomed and use the community café area and its rooms.
- Free Wi-Fi and internet facilities are available for customers, and this has helped to combat digital exclusion.
- The café area will host local groups including a mother and toddler group as well as appealing to local tourists, dog owners and walkers.
Lessons to learn
- A community group and volunteers with vision and have proved that they can realise their aim of creating a social hub for people in the local area.
- Having an inclusive policy can address the problems of loneliness and isolation
- Bringing back events and activities that the customers love has proved to be a success.
Regional advisor for Pub is The Hub Terry Stork said: “The community café has really helped to make this pub a place for everyone to come and connect.”