Village pub is thriving following tireless community campaign
PUBLISHED: 17:43 18 October 2019
A re-opened village pub is thriving after a community campaign prevented the much-loved facility from being turned into houses.
Having closed in January 2016, The Beeston Ploughshare, near Dereham, was initially at risk of being sold to a housing developer.
But a group of villagers - desperate to purchase the pub and run it for the benefit of the area - formed Beeston Community Enterprises and gave members of the public an opportunity to buy shares.
Following a tireless community-driven campaign, the group was finally able to carry out the extensive repairs and refurbishment needed to enable the pub to re-open and resume its role as a vital community hub.
They were financially pushed over the line thanks to a grant of £20,000 from the Breckland Business Innovation Den, funded by Breckland Council and administered by Norfolk Community Foundation.
Geoff Sorrell, company secretary at Beeston Community Enterprises, said: "Without the grant received from Breckland Business Innovation Den, the pub would simply not have been able to open - we are very grateful.
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"The local community is delighted and turning up in large numbers. The Beeston Ploughshare is committed to continuing its local focus, supporting the community and sourcing our goods from local suppliers wherever possible."
The oldest part of The Beeston Ploughshare dates back to 1620 and is full of centuries of memories and village tradition.
Rooms are dedicated to famous residents including Jem Mace, heavyweight boxing champion of the world in the 19th century, the American Airforce 392nd Bombardment Group - based in Beeston during the Second World War - as well as the village's rich agricultural history.
The pub, restaurant and coffee bar are now up and running, serving a variety of food and drink, while a community shop is set to open in the coming days.
A large number of local residents have expressed interest in volunteering at the pub alongside the small staff team, which is looking to expand its offering of services and community events.
Mark Robinson, Breckland Council's executive member for community, leisure and culture, added: "Residents in the area have shown great community spirit and a real passion for the project.
"I'm delighted the council has been able to support the reopening of this important community hub."