A COMMUNITY PUB FOR STANFORD DINGLEY
Much of the appeal of village life rests on its sense of community. It is the reason many people moved to Stanford Dingley and why others remain here. For many rural villages, the pub provides a vital service by enhancing community spirit; it is a meeting place, communication centre and an important lynchpin of village life.
Over the past 17 years, both of our pubs have, at one time or another, been under threat of closure. Due to hard work and commitment, The Bull’s fortunes have improved and now boasts a vibrant restaurant and accommodation. As many of you will know, The Old Boot has been owned and run by John Haley since the mid-1990s. The Old Boot has recently been listed as an “Asset of community Value”. When approached recently, John indicated that he might be prepared to sell the pub to the village to be run as a “community pub”.
Establishing a community pub is not without its challenges. A pub owned by the community still needs to be professionally managed and be commercially viable! However, this has been achieved in many villages across the UK. Indeed, there are currently over 70 cooperative pubs in England, Scotland and Wales. Many of these have been set up with the support of the Plunkett Foundation. (For more details, see https://www.plunkett.co.uk/co-operative-pubs). Could Stanford Dingley be the home of the next one?
We are now investigating whether The Old Boot could be transformed into a successful community pub. We wish to find out whether and, if so, how a community pub might contribute to the sense of well-being of local residents by servicing presently unmet needs. A short questionnaire, to be distributed throughout Stanford Dingley over the next week or so, will be the first step in investigating this possibility. We also plan to extend the survey to the wider local community, by making it available on-line.
Kevin Waldie has been asked to administer the survey on behalf of the community pub committee. The data will be collated, analysed and key findings will then be fed back to the community at a public meeting (and through the web-site) around the end of May/early June. At that time, we can consider whether there is sufficient local interest and support to take the idea forward.
If you would like to speak directly to someone about the vision for the community pub project, please feel free to contact any of the following:
• Stuart Logan, Brooklea, email@example.com
• Barry Potier, Coppers
• Anne and Bob Chessum, Briarbank
If you have questions about the survey itself, please contact: Kevin Waldie, Tall Trees.