Published on March 4, 2019 | by Alastair Gilmour


It’s more than a pub

Following a year-long campaign reported on regularly in these pages, the community in Ryton, Gateshead, has received the keys to village pub Ye Olde Cross, and are now raising funds to renovate and reopen the pub.

More than £150,000 was raised by current and former residents – from Australia to Hungary – who bought community shares in a cooperative, Ryton Cross Community Society, set up by local residents in order to buy the pub.

A further £100,000 grant and loan from the Plunkett Foundation and Power to Change’s More Than A Pub scheme meant the group was able to purchase the pub from Enterprise Inns.

The campaign has been supported by Rytonians who include North East folk singer Rachel Unthank, and members of the Royal Northern Sinfonia who performed alongside lead violinist Bradley Creswick in a fundraising concert in the village.

North East brewery Firebrick have also supported fundraising efforts, and MP for Blaydon, Liz Twist – herself a shareholder – mentioned the campaign in a recent representation in the House of Commons.

A further £40,000 is needed to refurbish Ye Olde Cross. Once it is open, alongside traditional pub services, the group will look at ways of using the space to support the community, from tackling social isolation to providing work experience.

Anyone who is interested can become a shareholder in Ye Olde Cross, or can support the campaign by donating towards the refurbishment. Community shares cost £20 and are available for a minimum purchase of ten shares. The community share offer is open until June 2019. Full details are available at

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Alastair Gilmour

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