Posted by: lvcpnews | September 13, 2010

‘All is not dead’ – 11 September 2010

Co-ops step in to support community pubs!

In March this year the Government of the day announced funding to support community pub purchases. The LCT was one of the first communities to register an interest with the Plunkett Foundation, the organisation who was to manage the scheme.
Unfortunately with the change of Government and the introduction of severe public finance constraints the funding was withdrawn.
Following an emergency summit held at The Old Crown in Heskett Newmarket there appears to be a glimmer of a financial rescue plan for the scheme. Needless to say we will closely monitor progress and continue to remind the Plunkett foundation of our interest.
The following article contains more detail:

9 September 2010
by
Gemma Hampson

‘We all felt a strong moral duty to help these communities that the government has turned its back on’

Peter Couchman, Plunkett CEO

A coalition of co-operatives is picking up the support for community pubs which was lost when the government cut a £3.3m fund.
Rural enterprise support organisation, the Plunkett Foundation, held an emergency pub meeting on Monday at the Old Crown in Hesket Newmarket, Cumbria, the first co-operative pub in the country.

The meeting followed the government’s announcement last month that it was cutting its Community-Owned Pubs Support Programme, leaving 82 communities already involved in the scheme stranded. The £3.3m had been earmarked by the Communities and Local Government department in March and the programme was to be led by Plunkett. Plunkett is still clarifying details of co-operative coalition and declined to release details this week.However, Plunkett CEO Peter Couchman said it included such organisations as Co-operatives UK and Co-operative & Community Finance. ‘We are pleased to say that the outcome of the Co-operative Pubs Summit is that the co-operative movement will be developing a package of support to help the 82 communities that have asked for help with saving their local,’ he said.
‘We all felt a strong moral duty to help these communities that the government has turned its back on. The support will not be at the same level as it would have been, but they will receive support from highly experienced co-operative developers.’

A Plunkett spokesman added that the support may include some form of funding. It would also hope to rescue the £7m private and philanthropic finance pledged as part of the government programme. Co-operatives UK was unable to shed more light on the plans. However, Gerard Devlin, who is leading work on co-operative pubs at Co‑operatives UK, said: ‘As the national body of co-operatives, we are looking forward to working with the Plunkett Foundation and others to support the development of co-operative pubs. ‘We are optimistic that the co-operative model offers a viable and exciting solution to the issues facing many pubs at present. By working together pub locals and their community can create co-operative businesses that help to ensure the continuation of a vital local service.’

It is hoped more information about the package of support being developed will be available next week.

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