A scheme to help rural pubs in East Sussex to branch out into new local services was launched yesterday by Pub is The Hub in partnership with Wealden District Council and East Sussex County Council.
John Longden from Pub is The Hub set out the organisation’s ideas to help rural pubs and services in the county and offered advice, support and, if appropriate, funding for pub operators and owners who are considering a diversification scheme. 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.
Attendees at the meeting also heard from Charlotte Morris a Barclay’s ‘Digital Eagle’ who wants to offer free IT training and support for people to be held in pubs to make the sessions more accessible. As more services and benefits go online over the next few years, the Digital Eagles team are keen to reach as many people as possible and she sees pubs as the ideal community hub to host these essential life skills. Tim Tempest suggested setting up ‘Mansheds’ in disused outbuildings where people could share craft and repair skills and Dawn Badland from the Applause Rural Touring Theatre group offered live theatre shows to improve accessibility to the arts.
Michael Corfield from the Bull’s Head in Boreham Street was on hand to describe how he took a failing pub and revitalised it with community events, a campsite and a shepherd’s hut.
“Pubs in rural areas such as Wealden are often the focal point for the community,” said Councillor Roy Galley, Cabinet Member for Economic Development at Wealden District Council. “By linking up with Pub is The Hub to offer something beyond food and drink, at which they excel, publicans will bring in extra customers whilst also strengthening their role at the centre of their communities.”
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 East Sussex is also being backed by the Big Lottery Fund who have had an association with Pub is The Hub since 2011.
John Longden, Chief Executive from Pub is The Hub said: “We want to hear from 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 and fancies having a chat with us.”
Anyone who would like more information can contact us direct on 01423 546165.
The main photograph above shows: Nigel Hannam and Cllr Roy Galley from Wealdon District Council with John Longden from Pub is The Hub