This weekend, The Raven Inn in Llanarmon-yn-Ial, Denbighshire, North Wales will celebrate its 10th year as a community leased and run pub by holding a mini festival, including family fun day, live music and barbeque.
In 2009 it was closed and facing re-development so it was at this point that the small rural community stepped in to save the pub, and in the process, rejuvenated itself.
The community of four hundred took the decision to enter the pub trade and a social enterprise was established and the pub leased for ten years.
Roger Abram, the Pub Committee Chairman said “It was a huge decision, we knew little about running a pub and didn’t have the money to recruit a professional pub manager, the village simply had to come together to make it work. It hasn’t all been plain sailing of course, we’ve learnt a lot, worked hard and made mistakes, but it’s all been worth it. We’re in discussion with our landlords to extend the lease by another ten years at the moment”
The success of the pub was marked in 2015 by the visit of HRH The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall and the hosting of the live BBC Breakfast programme in the same year.
About fifty volunteers run the pub, from cashing-up to ordering beer or repairing the roof. The degree of organisation and commitment required by the community to achieve success has had huge spin-off benefits. The village also now has a flourishing community-owned shop, a sister enterprise, the Cwrw Ial micro brewery and a conservation society. An 80 strong village choir provides entertainment at the annual Three Taverns Festival and there’s also the annual RavenFest, Christmas Carole Concert and bi-annual panto.
The Post Office has re-opened in the pub which also provides a home to numerous groups and clubs, from a weekly pensioners luncheon to local folk bands. Local youngsters get paid job experience serving-on or behind the bar. Several local businesses are supported.