New pub brings village to life

David Edwards is a writer who lives in Sheffield and runs the Words Count agency in the city.
David Edwards is a writer who lives in Sheffield and runs the Words Count agency in the city.
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One year ago this week the Anglers Rest at Bamford was bought out by the local community.

The pub had been in decline for several years, owned by a remote national chain, who were looking to dispose of the business.

There was no guarantee the premises would be maintained as the last remaining public house in the village. At the same time, the village’s post office was also under threat – a significant issue in a rural area.

A potential crisis for the village was turned into an opportunity by the community who had the imagination to see the potential for developing a new hub for village life – retaining the pub, incorporating the post office and adding a café.

In order to fund this more than £250,000 was raised by a community share issue for the newly formed Bamford Community Society, an astonishing result from an area with only 600-plus households. Just when everything seemed to be going well, it was announced the pub had been sold to a developer, but after representations from the community and our MP, this was rescinded and in November 2013 the pub was purchased by the Society and came into community ownership.

Twelve months later, the vision of a thriving community hub is well on the way to being realised. Sarah Bawden is one of the small group of voluntary directors that oversee the work of the 30-plus staff employed to run the pub, café and post office.“We have had a very successful first year, the post office and café are both running in the building and we have exceeded our income targets, but the biggest achievement has been the way in which this has brought the community together. We have gained confidence from our success.”

Providing a centre for village life, the pub and café welcomes passing trade and is particularly well located to cater for walkers and cyclists. The pub also offers a varied programme of events including bands and comedy shows and a monthly farmers’ markets in the car park, starting December 20. (see www.anglers.rest for details).There are plans for an outdoor terrace and conversion of some empty rooms into accommodation, so there is no prospect of the community ‘resting’ anytime soon.

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