Devon initiative “could not be more timely”

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A scheme to help rural pubs in Devon to branch out into new services for their communities was launched in Kingsteignton this week by Pub is The Hub in partnership with Devon Communities Together.

Elaine Cook, the Chief Executive of Devon Communities Together said that in light of all possible cuts in services suggested in Devon County Council’s ‘Tough Choices’ paper, this initiative, “could not be more timely.”

Pub is The Hub will work with rural pubs in Devon to encourage them to take up additional local services when rural services in their community are cut.  Schemes of this type include providing post offices, shops, libraries, internet cafes, allotment schemes, school dinners, lunch clubs for the elderly, cash point machines, IT training and meeting rooms.

John Longden, the Chief Executive of Pub is The Hub explained that his team would provide advice, support and, if appropriate, funding for pub operators and owners who are considering a diversification scheme and urged them to contact the organisation.

Tom Haywood, the licensee for the Union Inn in Denbury was there to explain how they are already developing a small shop and post office at their 14th Century Inn following the retirement of their local postmaster. He said that providing additional services for his community was, “another string to our bow whilst also keep vital amenities going for the village.”

Pub is The Hub, a not-for-profit organisation founded in 2001 by HRH the Prince of Wales, encourages local authorities, communities, licensees, pub owners and breweries to work together to support, retain and locate services within rural pubs. Pub is The Hub assists with guidance on availability of project funding, and having a thorough understanding of the pub business, is able to advise on the best way to progress with each individual project.

The launch of the scheme in Devon is also being backed by the Big Lottery Fund which has had an association with Pub is The Hub since 2011.

Pat, John & Reg_Devon launch

John Longden, Chief Executive from Pub is The Hub said: “We are available to chat to any licensees and pub owners who are considering the option of diversification – and even those who have never thought of it before. We welcome anyone who wants to know more.”

Anyone who would like to find out more can telephone 01423 546165.

The photograph shows John Longden with Elaine Cook.