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What is a community pub?

Since 1919, Plunkett Foundation has been advocating the co-operative approach to overcome the problems and challenges communities face. A community pub is just that – it’s a business owned and controlled by a large number of people from within the community with the primary purpose of stimulating community cohesion.

Communities have been running drinking establishments for decades, with working men’s clubs, sports and social clubs all having existed as member-owned entities. But community pubs are different. They are owned by members (also known as shareholders), where membership is both voluntary and open to all. Community pubs allow the community to have a genuine say in how the business is run. This is important in Plunkett’s view, as it ensures everybody has the opportunity to have a say about what’s important to them regardless of their backgrounds. Once in community control, they tend to be run by full-time managers or tenants with the support of members of the community who may volunteer, and are governed by an elected Management Committee or Board.

To see ALL the community owned pubs visit the

Plunkett Community Business Map

To find OPEN & TRADING MEMBER PUBS that interest you simply tick the search criteria in the boxes on the map above. Choose as many or as few search options as you would like.

Community pubs – the story so far

The number of British pubs has been declining since the 1980’s as a result of a number of factors including Government legislation including the Beer Orders which changed the market conditions for pub ownership, rising business rates and changing consumer habits with people drinking less or at home. During 2017, CAMRA, the Campaign to Protect Real Ale, claimed that 18 pubs were closing every week across the UK.

Although community pubs have been around for a while, the movement took a leap forward in 2003, following The Old Crown opening in the Cumbrian village of Hesket Newmarket and their dedication to help other communities do the same. Together, they, Plunkett Foundation and many other advisers have been working with large numbers of communities exploring community ownership of pubs. The introduction of the Localism Act in 2011, allowed communities to register pubs as Assets of Community Value, giving them greater planning protection against possible demolition or conversion uses. With considerable promotion by CAMRA, more than 1,250 communities registered their local as an ACV under community rights, helping communities get prepared in the event of it coming on the market for sale.

In March 2016, Plunkett with partners (CAMRA, Pub is the Hub, Locality, Co-operative Mutual Solutions, Co-operative & Community Finance, and Key Fund) launched a dedicated programme called More than a Pub, offering end-to-end support and a finance package of bursaries, loans and grants. This programme was funded by Power to Change Trust and Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government and ran until March 2019. Now in its second phase, the project has supported 175 groups with action planning support, 114 groups with specialist support, awarded over 100 bursaries, with 23 groups awarded a loan and grant.

And as for today the community pub sector is not only thriving, it is bucking wider negative industry trends. Almost a quarter of privately-owned pubs has shut down since 2008, but community pubs have a 100% success rate. A major new funding programme from Power to Change has been announced to help communities seeking to save their local pub through community ownership.

New community pubs opened during the year
Known community pubs trading across the UK at the end of 2017
Community pub sector growth during the year
Number of shareholders across all community pubs

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.

Vidhya Alakeson, Chief Executive of Power to Change

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.

James Alcock, Executive Director of Plunkett Foundation

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.”

Jake Berry , Community Pubs Minister

Find out more on the Plunkett Foundation main website

About Us
Plunkett News

Our vision was to not only save our historic pub, but to also turn it into a hub for the community with additional facilities. We only had a limited amount of time to get our act together, and we are not a big village, so we decided to extend our reach and have both a community share offer and a crowd funding option which would appeal to people living further afield.

Rob Brook, Chairman, The New Inn, Norton Lindsey.

Making An Impact In Our Communities

The average cost to set up a community pub during 2017
Percentage of all start-up costs in 2017 sourced from community shares
Percentage of community pubs continuing to trade

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