The New Inn is located in Shipton Gorge; a small village situated three miles east of Bridport, Dorset. The village has around 300 residents, made up mainly of older people and working families with children. There is a village hall and church but no post office or local shop, and the local bus service is infrequent. In October 2005, the New Inn closed, and the local community concentrated its energy, efforts and time to look at ways in which the village might be able to work as a community to secure a lease for the New Inn and run it as a community pub, to ensure the building was not sold for property development. In early 2006, a committee was formed and New Inn Support Ltd was set up to raise funds and apply for grants. Pub is the Hub was subsequently contacted, to help liaise with Palmers Brewery and the various grant bodies, and put together plans and costings for this complex project.
Following a considerable amount of fund raising and a grant from Defra, a new 6-year lease was agreed with Palmers Brewery. Licensees Gary Pellow and Sandra Tyson, with over 25 years experience in the licensing trade, were then appointed to run the pub. The pub was very run down, and before the doors opened planning permission was required for the works needed to bring the pub back into a trading condition. This included; the development of new toilets, a better entrance from the car park, moving the bar, creating a small dining area towards the back and full redecoration throughout. The whole enterprise galvanised the village and engendered a great deal of community action, with villagers spending 6 weeks getting the pub ready. The New Inn re-opened its doors in August 2006, creating 2 full-time and 3 part-time jobs for local people.
The closure of the pub and its subsequent regeneration has brought the community together. The pub has quickly built up a reputation for good food and drink, and has restored the winter pub game activities of darts and cribbage. The jobs provided increase during peak seasonal periods, and the pub is on a sound financial footing. The community raised a tremendous amount of money and volunteers also worked on the pub renovations. The project has engendered remarkable goodwill. The licensees are very enthusiastic and have organised a lively programme of activities, such as special pensioner lunches once a fortnight with a car ferry service for those who can’t drive, to encourage communication and integration within the elderly. Regular coffee mornings are held and the pub has re-established teams in the local skittle league.
Total project capital costs (£40,000.00)
Applicant contribution (through fundraising) (£27,750.00)
Community Pubs Foundation (£250.00)
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