Published on December 4, 2018 | by Alastair Gilmour


Fingers crossed

The deadline for pledges of support to save a Tyneside village pub loomed – and passed – as Cheers was at print, so we keep our fingers crossed that the investors have reached their target.

For the past six months, Ye Olde Cross in Ryton Village, Gateshead, has been the focus of an action group that includes Blaydon MP Liz Twist who are hoping to buy the 1909-vintage pub and have it up and running as a co-operative for the benefit of the local community. Owners Enterprise Inns decided it was no longer viable and put it on the market for £295,000.

The village pub is too important an asset to lose, so a steering group of local people was set up to assess, among other issues, why the pub didn’t seem to work in latter years and if it wasn’t making any money previously, how they could do things differently and make it sustainable.

Local opinion ran along the lines of: “If it’s run by the community it’ll be for the community, plus it’ll be more than a pub, it’s too important an asset to simply give up. It could be also used by disability groups and creative circles, it’s on popular walking and cycling routes, so let’s have a go.”

Friends of Ye Olde Cross report that pub is generally in good condition, plus there’s a very well-equipped kitchen and a two-bedroom flat above. Campaign co-ordinator Jenny Wotherspoon said: “We set up a community benefit society called Ryton Cross Community Society Ltd and have successfully listed the pub as an Asset of Community Value. We’ve been working with community business experts The Plunkett Foundation to put together a business plan and share offer, and have received the Community Shares Standard kitemark.

“Enterprise Inns have accepted our offer to buy Ye Olde Cross. Between the community shares we have raised so far, and a grant and loan from Power To Change’s More Than A Pub programme, we’re more than half-way to raising the money we need to buy the pub.”

By the time you read this, the clock will have struck. Fingers crossed. Visit

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Alastair Gilmour

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