In July 2015 The Thorold Arms in Marston, Lincolnshire, closed its doors and the village lost not just its pub, but its shop, restaurant and bed & breakfast accommodation. Residents quickly realised that losing the pub and shop at the heart of their community could be devastating for them; as Ian Tyler, committee member and campaign leader said: “Isolation can be a curse, especially in rural areas with poor transport links. A warm, friendly community meeting place is the heart of a healthy rural community; our pub and shop is much-missed, and we’re hoping to reopen it in the knowledge that its viability is underpinned by enthusiastic local support.”


In December 2015 we started working with the community to help them explore the co-operative model. Receiving an early Christmas present in the form of notification that their application to list the building as an asset of community value (ACV) had been successful, the community now has time to prepare a bid to purchase the pub. In order to raise the £250,000 asking price, Plunkett Foundation has been working on an action plan with the committee.

James Alcock, Head of Frontline at Plunkett, said: “The group has clearly demonstrated that there is widespread engagement for saving the pub as a community; almost 80 people attended a recent meeting to show their support.

“The co-operative model offers communities a way of securing and saving something precious. Once trading, co-operative pubs become so much more than a place to have a drink – they are important social hubs, often offering additional services, opportunities for volunteering and training, and always providing members of the community with somewhere to meet that is truly their own,” he added.


Knowing how important it is for communities to see first-hand how the co-operative model works and be inspired, we recently facilitated a study visit for the group to the Anglers Rest in Bamford, in the Peak District. The Anglers Rest became the first community-owned pub in Derbyshire when it was bought by over 300 people – success that the Thorold Arms campaigners hope to replicate.


Speaking after the visit, Ian Tyler said: “It was fantastic to talk to people who have already been through the whole process of saving their pub as a co-operative; they were extremely supportive and have promised to send extra information to us. We’ve already had a lot of technical and specific advice from Plunkett, so the real value was to see and touch the real thing in action; they’ve opened a café area and offer a range of other services, so it was very inspiring to see how it could work in our community, too.”

If you’d like to keep up to date with the campaign to save the Thorold Arms you can visit their fantastic website at http://save.thethoroldarms.co.uk/


Be inspired by: The Fox & Goose, Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire

Life changes for communities when they take control of what's important to them. Take Hebden Bridge in West Yorkshire. Local pub, the Fox & Goose, was forced to close due to the owner's ill health and many feared the fate of their traditional local was sealed - that it would be bought by a major chain, at risk of losing its unique character, or, worse, cosing down and being sold off for another use.

But in early 2012 something happened that changed the fate of the Fox and Goose. Regulars, local residents and supporters decided the pub was too important to lose, too much a part of their community, and they decided to form a co-operative to save it. They raised £130,000 through a community share offer and, after much hard work and support from others, the Fox & Goose reopened its doors as a community co-operative in March 2014, becoming the first of its kind in West Yorkshire. Since then it's come to represent a place where the local community comes together, whether it's to refurbish the pub and beer garden, shelter during extreme weather (like the recent floods), watch local bands or simply to enjoy a particularly good pint of local ale. 

The Fox & Goose is one of the success stories of the co-operative pub movemet. If you'd like to find out how we can help your community to do the same, get in touch with us.