Published on February 4th, 2020 | by Alastair Gilmour0
Hard work pays off
Campaigners who saved a pub in Ryton, Tyne & Wear, creating the first community pub in the Tyne Valley have received a national award for their efforts. The Campaign for Real Ale (Camra) Pub Saving Award recognises communities that have successfully rescued pubs from closure.
Friends of Ye Olde Cross scooped the crown for successfully re-opening their valued local as a community pub after it closed in 2018. They registered the pub as an Asset of Community Value (ACV) and with the help of the Plunkett Foundation and the Power to Change’s More than a Pub programme, they developed a business plan and share offer to buy it for community to use and be proud of.
They established a Community Benefit Society which more than 300 locals invested in, raising £150,000 to purchase the pub. Further fundraising and a team of hardworking volunteers allowed them to completely transform the pub interior for its reopening in July 2019. Today, Ye Olde Cross runs a number of community events, including a regular quiz and open mic night, yoga lessons, food pop-ups, business networking, a yarn group and book club.
Colin Cheesman, from the Friends of Ye Olde Cross, said: “We are honoured and proud to be chosen for this prestigious award. It is testimony to the commitment and effort of the community who all pulled together to raise funds to buy Ye Olde Cross.
“The renovation continues – as does the successful day-to-day running of the pub by our appointed tenants Andrew (‘Billy’) and Abigail Billingham who have really embraced the concept of developing a successful community pub.”
Runner-up in the competition is the Three Tuns Action Group, which is responsible for re-opening a historic 17th Century pub in Guilden Morden, Cambridgeshire. The Three Tuns was closed by Greene King and sold to a developer in 2014 but thanks to the efforts of the local community, they were able to buy it and refurbish the interior, the tenant flat and the half-acre garden.