With help from the More than a Pub Programme worth £3.6m, funded by the Department for Communities and Local Government and Power to Change, a much-loved pub in the heart of the Essex countryside is set to mark its official opening by hosting an event on 11 November following a campaign by locals to save it.
The Kings Head in Pebmarsh was put up for sale by the owners who retired in September 2016, meaning the pub ceased trading. As the only remaining pub in the village, this news hit the local community hard. A number of locals soon rallied together and set up the Friends of the Kings Head group with the objective of re-opening the Kings Head as a community-owned pub.
Within just three months, the local community had pledged £300,000 to turn The Kings Head into a community-owned pub. Shares were available at £50 each.
The Friends of the Kings Head Pebmarsh completed purchase of the pub in June 2017 as a community-owned pub, securing the long term future of the pub as a key community asset for Pebmarsh and local communities. The Kings Head has plans to extend its community offering to include a café and a shop selling essential items.
The pub has had essential repairs and the fully spruced–up pub re-opened earlier in October for drinks and a couple of weeks later for food.
John Flack of Pebmarsh Community Pub Ltd, said “We have realised our dream of purchasing the Kings Head on behalf of the Community, with nearly 400 Shareholders who really care about saving this prized community asset. Our shareholders are in the majority from our local communities, but we have also attracted investment from around the world, mainly from people who have fond memories of their time spent and friends made in Pebmarsh. We hope to see as many shareholders as possible at our Grand Opening Party, and we have also made contact with many of our previous landlords at the Kings Head going as far back as the 1960s who we hope will also attend.”
Nicole Hamilton, Head of Frontline at Plunkett Foundation, said: “We’re thrilled to see the community taking ownership of The King’s Head in Pebmarsh. This will enable them to put their full plans in place and provide an important social space giving the community a sense of place and identity. We wish them every success.”
Jenny Sansom from Power To Change said: “There is amazing community spirit on display here. By making sure pubs host groups and charitable events, people are keeping their local pub open and offering much more than a good pint.”