The growth in local community pubs has continued at its strongest levels, according to a new report.
The study by the Plunkett Foundation revealed that by the end of 2017 the community pub sector had grown by 30 per cent with 14 new pubs opening during the year.
It also showed that not a single community pub closed its doors during that time.
Overall, 85 known community pubs were trading across the UK by the end of the last reporting period in 2017, and 153 groups were actively exploring the potential to take over a local boozer.
The report also illustrates a number of examples of the added value of community pubs, including initiatives to address social isolation, loneliness and wellbeing.
The majority of the 14 community pubs to open in 2017 took advantage of grant capital available under the More Than a Pub programme, where funding for start-up costs plus a loan and grant scheme are available.
The scheme is due to close in March this year, but the Plunkett Foundation is now working with Power to Change on a new £2.2.m programme to help communities seeking to save their local pub.
The programme will be active from summer 2019 with further details announced in the spring.
Chris Cowcher, head of community business at Plunkett Foundation, said: “As well as saving vital rural services such as pubs, the stand out success of community businesses is found in the social impact they achieve.
“They bring people together of all ages, backgrounds, interests, and give them a purpose to interact; put simply, community shops and community pubs reduce social isolation and loneliness.”
James Alcock, executive director of the Plunkett Foundation, said: “We are pleased to be working once again with Power to Change on the development of a new £2.2 million programme supporting the thriving community pubs sector. I would like to thank the many people involved in community pubs for contributing to the reports and highlighting the challenges as well as the successes of running a community business by telling their own stories.”
Ailbhe McNabola, head of Research and Policy at Power to Change said: “It is fantastic news that the community pubs sector has grown so well, and we were pleased to launch a new £2.2m funding programme for community pubs with more details coming this Spring. We have a number of support programmes and funds in place to support a wide range of community businesses and we hope to see the sector grow even more strongly in 2019.”