More than a Pub

More than a Pub: The Community Pub Business Support Programme

Want to take ownership of your local pub and run it for the benefit of the community? Need help getting it into community hands?

The More than a Pub programme provides business development support to enable the community control of pubs in both rural and urban communities across England.

Funded by Power to Change and the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) and led by the Plunkett Foundation, the More than a Pub programme has taken over 800 enquiries and supported 58 pubs in to community control. During the covid-19 lockdown the MTAP programme provided small grants to around half of the community pubs in England.

This programme is delivered in partnership with the following organisations:

Programme Update 17.08.2020

We are delighted to announce that the More than a Pub programme is re-opening from Wednesday 19th August; we will once again be able to support groups at all stages of their community pub journey, from an idea through to opening and trading.

For all community pubs enquiries please contact, call 01993 810730 or use our online enquiry form here.

What does the programme offer?

The programme offers a wide range of support for groups who wish to take ownership of their local pub and run it for the benefit of their local community:

Our Advisers provide support (in-person and remotely) across a vast range of topics from fund raising and community shares, to governance, hosting AGMs, community engagement, diversifying services, business planning and financial forecasting. If you have a support need, query or need to talk through your situation with an expert please contact us; we are able to flex to the needs of each community and create bespoke support packages for both new groups and trading community pubs.

Each month two Zoom meetings will be held, one for new groups looking to set-up a community pub and the other for trading community pubs. These meetings will be themed, but are flexible and topics can adapt to the needs of the attendees/latest government updates. They are an opportunity to share, learn from peers and receive the updates directly from PTC and Plunkett Foundation. Joining information can be found here.

These will be a mixture of virtual and in-person small scale events. Co-hosted by a Plunkett Adviser and a trading community pub, they provide an opportunity for you to see how others have set-up and run their community pub business. These events are for new groups and provide an open platform for discussion. Tickets will be available here.

We are continuing to develop online content for you to access live or in your own time. These are free and available for all community pub groups, at any stage of their journey. New webinars are being created in direct response to the needs of the community pub sector – click here for our event programme. Previous sessions are available here and cover topics such as Social Investment Tax Relief, hosting an AGM during covid-19, accessing a public works loan and how to run a community share offer.

We are continuing to create new resources, case studies, information guides, blogs and films to help you develop your community pub projects. These are all available on the Plunkett website, found here.

Up to £2,500 is available for early stage groups, who have already received Adviser support through the MTAP programme, to cover set-up costs such as legal structure incorporation, community engagement costs (printing, advertising etc.) and meeting costs (using online platforms). Please note, there are limited number of bursaries available and it is a competitive process. Email to request a bursary application.

Combined finance packages of up to £100,000 are available (£50,000 loan and £50,000 grant) to help community groups secure control of their local pub. The loan is not optional and, as well as completing the MTAP paperwork, we will ask you to apply to either Co-operative and Community Finance or Key Fund (please wait for confirmation from us as to who you should apply to). Please note, there are a very limited number of loan and grant packages available, so this will be a highly competitive process. Email to request an application form.

  • In-person large scale events.
  • Small grants to trading community pubs (these were for covid-19 diversification and community benefit activities during full lock-down).

Read our guidance notes to find out about the More than a Pub programme.

If you are applying for the loan and grant funding package, you will need to complete an application (email alongside a community benefit plan. Read the community benefit plan guidance notes here.

Useful Links

  • Covid-19 Live – Please do check the Covid-19 Live pages of the website for the most up to date information from our partners, government, funders and Senior Management Team.
  • Community Pubs Network – Please utilise the Community Pubs Network on Facebook. This is an incredible platform of supportive and knowledgeable individuals.
  • Community Pubs MembershipCommunity Pubs Membership provides access to discounted utilities and services through collective buying power, it also enable us to represent the sector. Please ensure you are making the most of your membership by checking suppliers and allowing your community’s voice to be heard heard.

Why community pubs?

Community pubs are owned by members (sometimes known as shareholders) and are run democratically on the basis of one-member-one-vote. Membership is voluntary, affordable, and open to all in a community, and is the mechanism for ensuring the community has a genuine say in how the business is run. This is what gives community pubs longevity, as member control and input ensures the pub business is continually adapting and serving the needs of its members and wider community.

Community pubs are thriving where private enterprise has failed; almost a quarter of privately-owned pubs have shut down since 2008 (Office of National Statistics, 2018), but community pubs have a 100% success rate (Community Pubs Better Business Report, 2019). Community pubs also play a vital role in reducing loneliness and social isolation, providing a range of community focused activities and services, as well as being a community space for all. Read more about the community pub sector in Plunkett’s annual Community Pubs Better Business report here.

Case studies

Below, you can find a selection of case studies from community pubs supported under the first round of the More than a Pub programme:

The Craufurd Arms, Maidenhead

View the case study here

The Duke of Marlborough, Somersham

View the case study here

The Gardeners Rest, Sheffield

View the case study here

The Harrow, Kent

View the case study here

The New Inn, Norton Lindsey

View the case study here

During the coronavirus lockdown community pubs have been sharing their experiences and advice with a series of More Than A Pub videos:

For more Covid-19 films, please scroll to the bottom of the Covid-19 Live page.

Need some help?

If you are interested in receiving support from the More Than a Pub programme, please do contact us and we will get back in touch very shortly.

Contact us