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New £2.2m funding for community-run pubs in 2019

New £2.2m funding for community-run pubs in 2019

Next year sees £2.2 million of new  to help communities seeking to save their local pub through community ownership.

The new programme, from Power to Change, will be available from Summer 2019 with further details to be announced in Spring 2019.

This announcement builds on the success of the current More Than a Pub programme, which is jointly funded by:

  • Power to Change
  • Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government

and led by Plunkett Foundation in collaboration with

  • Key Fund
  • Co-operative and Community Finance
  • The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA)
  • Co-operative Mutual Solutions
  • Pub is the Hub
  • Locality
  • the British Beer and Pub Association.

So far, the More Than A Pub programme has supported 190 communities and seen 26 pubs open their doors under community ownership since 2016.

Customers at community-owned Crauford Arms - photo: Plunkett Foundation

Customers at community-owned Crauford Arms – photo: Plunkett Foundation

James Alcock, Executive Director of Plunkett Foundation, added: “This announcement is an endorsement of the role community pubs play in creating thriving communities and will strengthen the community pub sector by providing further support for those working to the tide on pub closures. For many, pubs are not just a place to drink; they are central to peoples’ sense of place and identity, they provide an important space for people to meet and help to build community cohesion.”


Value of community-run pubs?

According to Power to Change, opening a pub under community ownership not only protects a valuable asset but also brings “a wealth of social benefits and improves the wellbeing of local people”, including those who socially excluded or isolated in the wider community in particular.

Community pubs offer a range of services ranging from retail and post office to social clubs and volunteering opportunities.


Community pubs’ success rate

Customers at the Duke of Marlborough - photo: Plunkett Foundation

Customers at the Duke of Marlborough – photo: Plunkett Foundation

Pubs in the UK are continuing to close at a rapid rate. In 2018 ONS research showed that UK almost a quarter of pubs had closed since 2008 in the UK. 

However, the community pub sector is bucking this trends. Community pubs have a 100% success rate.

Already 96 communities have successfully opened their local pub under community ownership, and more are currently working with the More than a Pub Programme and been listed as ‘assets of community value’ under community rights.

Vidhya Alakeson, Chief Executive of Power to Change, said: “Community-run pubs are so valuable to the people who use them, offering a huge range of crucial services including lunch clubs for vulnerable people, training and development, gardening and cooking classes and parenting groups. The More than a Pub programme we have run with Plunkett has been an enormous success so it was a natural decision for us to continue to support this thriving and much-loved sector.”


Community-owned Gardeners' Rest - photo: Plunkett Foundation

Community-owned Gardeners’ Rest – photo: Plunkett Foundation


Community Pubs Minister Jake Berry added: “Pubs have and will continue to be at the very heart of our communities. The More Than a Pub programme is a fantastic example of communities taking ownership of their local assets, and it’s great to see Power to Change supporting their innovative work for another year. I look forward to the continued partnership work in boosting the ever important agenda of empowering our local communities.”



Howard Lake is a digital fundraising entrepreneur. Publisher of UK Fundraising, the world's first web resource for professional fundraisers, since 1994. Trainer and consultant in digital fundraising. Founder of Fundraising Camp.

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