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Advice hotline launched for communities looking to take over their pubs

By Peter Ruddick , 12-Mar-2013
Last updated on 12-Mar-2013 at 12:21 GMT2013-03-12T12:21:15Z

A new hotline offering advice to communities looking to save their local pub has been launched this week

A new hotline offering advice to communities looking to save their local pub has been launched this week

Community Pubs Minister, Brandon Lewis MP, yesterday launched an advice hotline for communities looking for help in taking over the running of their local pub.

The hotline will be run by the Plunkett Foundation which helps advice on community co-operatives and social enterprises. It has been partly funded by £20k from the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG).

Powerless

The Community Pubs Minister, who works for DCLG, yesterday launched the hotline which will give tips on setting up a co-operative, purchasing a pub or its leasehold, establishing bank accounts, managing legal issues, marketing and dealing with conflict.

"The local pub is often at the very heart of the community and an important aspect of life for many people," said Lewis. "When it closes, many communities feel powerless to save it.

"The Co-operative Pubs Advice Line will give communities access to a wealth of information and expertise, giving them the tools they need to save their local pub as a co-operative enterprise for generations to come, he explained.

The hotline is the latest initiative from the Government which has encouraged communities to use the Localism Act to buy community buildings and services, has increased business rate relief and is pushing for the introduction of a minimum unit price for alcohol - all policies it says are helping local pubs.

The DCLG has also backed the 'Pub is the Hub' project with a £150k fund to help community pubs innovate.

Pub is the Hub was a double winner at last night's Publican Awards, organised by BigHospitality's sister publication The Publican's Morning Advertiser.  

The scheme was judged to be the Best Industry Initiative and its founder John Longden also collected the Outstanding Industry Achievement prize.

Plunkett Foundation

The launch of the hotline coincides with the launch of a bespoke website, created by the Plunkett Foundation, which provides access to information, advice and toolkits for potential co-operative pubs as well as an online directory of the 14 already open across the UK.

Peter Couchman, chief executive of the Plunkett Foundation, said: “The Co-operative Pubs Advice Line will be an important piece of the jigsaw of support required by communities in rural and urban areas looking to save their local pub as a co-operative.

"We hope that by raising awareness of the co-operative model as a solution we will inspire confidence in communities to help themselves to save what is important to them.”

Properties of the week

Hampshire Aldershot: La Fontaine

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North Yorkshire Richmond: The Farmers Arms, Muker

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