Publicans in rural areas of Wales have been promised a share of £1.3m to help develop services such as post offices, shops and computer training clubs alongside their core business.
The funding will be available for around 60 pubs in eight Welsh counties - Bridgend, Vale of Glamorgan, Ceredigion, Gwynedd, Anglesey, Conwy, Denbighshire and Flintshire - who diversify into new services for their communities.
Run by Pub is the Hub and Cadwyn Clwyd, the regional development agency for Denbighshire and Flintshire, the initiative was announced by Alun Davies, Deputy Minister for Agriculture, Food, Fisheries and European Programmes at the Royal Oak in Betws y Coed, last week.
John Longden, chief executive of Pub is The Hub, the not-for-profit organisation initiated by the Prince of Wales in 2001, said: "Whilst the levels of funding for each pub will depend on the type of project and community need, this is the first time that the Government has worked on a national scale to support an initiative of this kind."
Funding for local projects
Funding will available until the end of 2013 for pubs who want to boost the number of services they offer to local residents. Money will be used to give training to pubs to be able to deliver community-based projects and to provide publicans and rural communities with advice and guidance on how to work together to run new services.
Davies said: "Pubs, like many small rural businesses can struggle to trade profitably through providing only the pub functions. The training, advice and guidance being offered to pubs and communities through this project will, I am sure, inspire actions to create new income streams to help sustain pubs for the future. These pubs in turn will benefit their local communities by providing essential basic services."
Pubs in rural areas of Wales already offering a range of local services include the Salisbury Arms in Tremeirchion in Clwyd, which has set up a community playground for the village, the Golden Lion in Llangynhafel in Denbighshire which runs a monthly cinema club and the Blue Bell in Halkyn in Flintshire, currently in the process of re-opening the village post office.
Pub is The Hub is running a series of workshops for pub owners and licensees in the counties listed. Anyone interested in taking part in the scheme should call Pub is the Hub on 01423 546165 or email firstname.lastname@example.org