The White Swan in Gressenhall, Norfolk, has opened a community space called The Stables to help support people living locally.
An outbuilding has been refurbished to home the multifunctional space, which can be used as a community café, pop-up cinema, meeting room for local groups with the aim to serve takeaway food in the near future. The new facility aims to appeal to all age groups allowing them to socialise in a relaxed environment.
The Stables was opened with the expert help and a Community Services Fund grant from Pub is The Hub, the not-for-profit organisation that helps pubs to diversify and provide essential local services.
The White Swan is owned by the local community who purchased the pub in 2019. Over 6,000 volunteer hours were put into the pub which reopened in May 2022.
It was recognised very quickly that there was a need for a multifunctional space as the nearest market town is four miles away and there is little public transport from the village.
Alex Begg, chairperson of the Gressenhall Community Enterprise, said: “This new space will help bring people together. It means we will be able to host more groups such as Knit and Natter and have space for meetings. It will also play a key role in keeping people in the village connected to help combat social isolation.”
Daniel Pratt, managing director of White Swan Gressenhall Ltd, that runs the pub on behalf of the community group, said: “As the business grows and develops its customer base over the next few months we are excited to start using The Stables for more community led events. Pubs are vital to local communities like Gressenhall and we have enjoyed being part of the journey to get The White Swan open again, even if our contribution of running the day to day, pales into insignificance of that of the community over the last few years.”
Pub is The Hub regional advisor Terry Stork said: “The White Swan is at the heart of this village offering a place for people to get together. It is a great example of a pub supporting people in the local community.”
The pub was also able to utilise a grant from Norfolk Community Foundation to help with the development.