Community hub: Horncliffe pub opens community café to help local people

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A community café at the Fishers Arms in Horncliffe, near Berwick-upon-Tweed, Northumberland, is bringing local people and groups together to help combat loneliness and isolation.

Expert help and a Community Services Fund grant from Pub is The Hub, the not-for-profit organisation that helps pubs to diversify their services to help support people living in rural communities, was provided to help to set up the café.

The big need for the community café was recognised as the area is poorly served by public transport and has few other services. The village had already lost its shop, post office, school and church, with the pub being its last amenity. The area also has a higher-than-average number of both over-65s and unpaid carers, who are also benefitting from having somewhere to meet and socialise.

The Fishers Arms has been at the heart of the Horncliffe village since 1760 and was saved from closure in July 2022 when shareholders and members of the local community purchased the pub with the aim to make it a building for the use of the local community.  

Publicans Kasia Kozik and John Graham took over running the pub in March 2024.

They have ensured the community café serves a range of wonderful homemade cakes, scones, coffees and teas, offers a warm welcome for groups as well as local people looking to connect with others. The café is already the home for craft group the Horncliffe Hookers, who meet there weekly.  A volunteer-run book swap is also located in the café too.

The café also appeals to customers outside the village such as tourists, cyclists, walkers as well as visitors from the local campsite and holiday lets.

Moira Kay, member of the pubs’ committee, said: “The community has really rallied round to support the opening of the pub and the café. The café is providing an important space where people can get together for a chat or take part in an activity, which helps to connect them with others and can help people who might feel isolated or lonely.”

Publican Kasia Kozik said: “We welcome you all to visit the Fishers Arms, which is already seeing a wide range of local people use the pub for a variety of reasons and occasions. It is so important that this pub serves everyone in the local area. The community café offers a safe, relaxed space where groups and individual people can meet. It is a great place for people to come together.”

Nigel Williams, regional advisor for Pub is The Hub, said: “This is a pub that is at the heart of its local area. This brilliant community café has already proved to be a lifeline for those living in this isolated rural area that has already lost so much of its local services.”