Paul Selwood and his father Philip who run The Swan Inn at Carleton in Craven, have opened a community hub and coffee shop in the heart of the village that provides a warm and welcoming space from 8.30am to 12 noon, seven days a week.
Here, users can access the superfast wifi facilities, two publicly accessible personal computers, newspapers and magazines, photocopying and printing facilities, local information and a book exchange. Hot and cold drinks with a range of snacks are available to buy and The Hub is accessible through a separate, well-signed entrance to the pub to ensure its appeal to non-pub goers. Walkers, cyclists and even dogs are made to feel welcome.
As part of their programme of support Pub is The Hub awarded a grant of £3,000 to the project from its Community Services Fund which went towards the IT equipment, printer and drinks-making facilities. Situated in the Swan’s function room, the facilities can all be rolled back and put away after lunch to convert the room back to its original use – as a venue for parties, meetings and weddings.
Staffed by volunteers the hub has been created with the support of the Carleton Community Umbrella – a locally-run organisation chaired by Steve Richardson – who fundraise to create useful community assets for the village. The Carleton Community Umbrella owns useful equipment such as gazebos, a PA system, lights, jet washers and hedge trimmers all stored in the barn at The Swan. The Hub has been set up to provide a sanctuary, meeting place, IT suite, library and games in the same spirit of investment in community activities and services.
An experienced licensee, Paul Selwood has been operating The Swan for five years and has been keen to maintain a strong link with the community. Paul said: “Our priorities in running The Swan are all based around the village and its residents as it is the only thing that will ensure that the business is sustainable over time.
“We are incredibly lucky to have the Carleton Community Umbrella organisation and, with Pub is The Hub’s advice and financial backing, I am delighted that we can extend its reach even further in providing The Hub and coffee shop service. In a very short time, The Hub has become a lifeline for many people in Carleton.”
Trisha Hughes the regional advisor for Pub is The Hub in Yorkshire added: “This really is a unique project for a village pub and could provide a blueprint for other rural communities to pull together and share resources. Paul and Philip’s support for the idea has been visionary and we wish them both continued success.”
Plans for future use of The Hub include local history seminars, dog training, CPR courses, art and reading classes, lunch clubs and adult education and the village is working closely with North Yorkshire County Council’s Stronger Communities team.
The photograph above shows members of the Carleton Community getting together to celebrate the official opening.