The Horse and Groom at Tunstead officially opened its new café and games room this week as part of the pub’s ongoing revival as a community hub.
Situated in the adjacent barn the games room offers traditional pub games alongside a café area linking the barn to the pub, both providing areas that should appeal to a wider range of local residents and visitors to the area.
The project was devised by owner Gilly Foulds – a local resident who came out of retirement two years ago to purchase the village pub and save it from closure.
Having refurbished the 18th century pub, reverting back to its original name in the process, she approached Terry Stork, Pub is The Hub’s regional advisor to discuss the pub’s ongoing sustainability. In addition to help and advice, she was granted £3,000 from Pub is The Hub’s Community Services Fund towards the cost of refurbishment.
Gilly said: “The pub has seen mixed fortunes over recent years in the hands of developers and different operators but I wanted to keep it open as an essential social hub for the village. The idea is that these new areas will become a meeting place for younger people in the village and to help combat isolation and loneliness among our older residents too. Ultimately it will support the viability of the pub in the long term.
“I am very grateful to Pub is The Hub for their support, they have been instrumental in making this idea a possibility.”
Employing a manager to run the pub called Jonathan Caswell, Gilly provides local employment to a team of nine members of staff and is keen to buy locally sourced produce as well as growing her own fruit and vegetables for the pub’s kitchen.
Pub is The Hub’s advisor Terry Stork added: “Since Gilly purchased the Horse and Groom, she has turned it into an outstanding destination pub. The addition of these two community facilities improves local services, making the Horse and Groom the hub of the village.”