A community-owned pub in Guilden Morden showcased their success on a visit by Plunkett UK and Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority

There was a warm welcome from The Three Tuns in Guilden Morden for the Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority, Dr Nik Johnson, who visited the community-owned pub with Plunkett UK yesterday (Thursday, 21 March).

The Mayor talked with several committee members over a drink at the bar, and heard about their journey to revive their pub, which first opened for trading 300 years ago.

The building had been empty for six years and local people fought plans for housing development, before a successful campaign began to run the pub as a community-owned business, with substantial support from Plunkett UK.

The Three Tuns opened again in June 2019 and navigated the tough years of Covid-19 lockdown where they needed to adapt to the situation, providing initiatives such as takeaway meals for villagers and ‘pop-up pubs’.

Tenants Scott and Sarah took the business on last summer and the pub is thriving with tasty homecooked food, bread deliveries each Friday coffee and cakes available from 9am, and a fresh décor in the dining area. It is a warm, comfortable place for different groups and societies from the village, like a film club, to meet together, and for people who live alone to find company.

The Three Tuns currently has 320 shareholders, and committee member, John Harrison, said, “It was hard work and we were only able to succeed through the huge local support, and that of Plunkett and the local authorities – but it was certainly worth doing!”

The visit to Guilden Morden by Plunkett UK and representatives from the Combined Authority was an opportunity to promote their ongoing partnership programme.

Funding is enabling Plunkett to identify viable projects and deliver a dedicated community support package to community groups in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, with a focus of revitalising assets in market towns and rural hinterlands.

The community business model is being used to create hubs that could include retail, cafés, meeting rooms, co-working facilities, allotments, and accessible green spaces, among others.

At The Three Tuns, we were delighted to also welcome Sarah Severn, a trustee of Cambridgeshire ACRE, and Jay Gearing, a member of the community at Helpston, who are seeking to take over their village pub, The Bluebell.

John, Mayor Nik and Susie Middleton, project manager at Plunkett UK, all participated in a panel discussion about the important role of community-owned businesses, recorded for the podcast, Eastern Promise, which is a not-for-profit Community Interest Company dedicated to celebrating and championing the East of England.

Mayor Nik spoke with passion about why the 3Cs of compassion, co-operation and community are so crucial, adding, “All the best change is bottom up. As a Combined Authority, we are here for businesses that have community value.

“We hope more groups will access the free business advice and grants, provided by our funding, and delivered by Plunkett UK.”

Susie talked about Plunkett’s desire to see resilient, thriving and inclusive rural communities, saying, “We’re about building a community of community businesses. We encourage peer support where possible and it’s been great to hear conversations today between Jay from Helpston and the committee members here in Guilden Morden. We are thrilled by the partnership we have with the Combined Authority, and for Mayor Nik’s support – we have a shared value and a shared vision.”

Want more information?

Plunkett is managing the allocation of £800,000 funding on behalf of the Combined Authority with packages of fully funded business support, small start-up grants of up to £5,000 and follow-up bigger grants of up to £45,000 available up to March 2025.

For communities wanting more information about the support and grants available in the market towns and rural hinterlands of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority, please call us on 01993 630 022, or email info@plunkett.co.uk

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