Our country inns need to be more versatile

L13-553 Dunstable Beer festival at Grove House Gardens, Dunstable. 'Rick Redman'JR 19'11.5.13 ENGPNL00120130513101152
L13-553 Dunstable Beer festival at Grove House Gardens, Dunstable. 'Rick Redman'JR 19'11.5.13 ENGPNL00120130513101152

Wealden District Council is inviting rural publicans from across the patch to set the bar high and see how they can offer more than just pints and pies.

A special Pub is The Hub workshop is taking place on January 12 from 11am to 12.30pm at The Brewers Arms in Herstmonceux.

The Pub is The Hub scheme, delivered in partnership with East Sussex County Council and the Pub is The Hub organisation, supports rural public houses to find out how they can bring in extra customers and strengthen the role of the pub as the centre of rural communities, by delivering or hosting services that the local community needs.

“It’s sad that in recent years, pubs across the country have been struggling, but Pub is The Hub is a great opportunity for Wealden’s pubs, hand-in-hand with their local communities, to do something about this,” said Cllr Roy Galley, Portfolio Holder for Economic Development and Regeneration.

“By offering something different in addition to the food and drink at which they already excel, the pubs can get more people through the door and return to being the centre of their town or village. At the same time the local community is strengthened with much-needed services available on their doorstep.”

The first pub in Wealden to make the most of the offer is The Brewers Arms in Herstmonceux.

Since Rebecca Elms took over the pub she has worked with the scheme to introduce activities and events such as a weekly 1940s lunch club with old pub games and 1940s music, a small library organised with East Sussex Library and Information service, quiz nights, coffee mornings and live music.

“When I took over The Brewers Arms my sole purpose was to build a traditional community country pub for all ages to enjoy,” said Rebecca.

“A year on and the pub has gone from strength to strength. With the support of the Pub is The Hub project we have steadily increased business and become a vital part of the community, offering a warm and friendly atmosphere to all.”

Examples of projects supported by Pub is The Hub across the country include: Internet café, delicatessen, cinema, exercise classes, training courses, libraries and Post Office.

For more information or to attend the January workshop please contact Zoe Clarke, Community and Regeneration Officer, by email on zoe.clarke@wealden.gov.uk or telephone on 01323 443266.

Pub is the Hub is a not-for-profit organisation that encourage licensees, communities, pub owners, breweries, local authorities and the private sector to work together to match community needs with additional services which can be provided by the local pub. Formed more than 10 years ago it has completed more than 500 schemes nationwide.