Community-run Duke opens pop-up café

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The Duke of Marlborough at Somersham, near Ipswich in Suffolk launched their new pop up café on Friday supported and part-funded by Pub is The Hub.

Situated in the pub’s dining room, the pop-up tea room will be available each Thursday from 2.00 to 5.00pm to encourage local residents to use the space during the day to meet and access community activities such as IT training for computer and social media novices. While the cafe will start with just one day each week organisers anticipate it will open for other sessions as it becomes more popular.

The pub is owned and operated by the community group, Somersham Community Pub Ltd. They came together in a two-and-a-half-year battle to save the pub from being sold for housing, re-opening in Spring 2017 under community ownership. Since then it has undergone refurbishment and the group have explored ways to maintain the pub’s viability whilst improving local services available to the community.

Pub is The Hub has been able to contribute £3,000 toward the cost of equipment for the café and community space from their Community Services Fund while their advisor for East Anglia was also able to provide advice and support.

Maggie James from the pub’s committee said: “We entertained around seventy people in the café with an array of ages from nine weeks to over ninety years old along with lots of new faces. It was a fantastic atmosphere and a great time was had by all.

“It’s so exciting to see the pub developing its offer and reaching new customers – and makes all the work involved in raising the funds to buy it and get it re-opened worthwhile.”

Pub is The Hub advisor Terry Stork said: “We are delighted to be able to work with Somersham community on this project to support the fantastic work that they have already achieved in this area. They are very committed to bringing different aspects of village life together and maintaining the Duke as a valuable asset for many years to come.”


The photograph shows (from left to right): Terry Stork with James Batchelor-Wylam