Community / 13 January 2017

Pub is the Hub in Sussex

Last April, I attended the launch of the Pub is The Hub scheme with Wealden District Council in East Sussex. John Longden, the Pub is The Hub Chief Executive who has all of our support and indeed admiration, has just sent me an update which I think is worth sharing, not least because it shows the true community spirit of pubs and what can be achieved in partnership at a local level.

Two pubs in Pevensey have set up a book exchange for local residents. The books can be donated, borrowed, or people pick up the same book to read every time they visit the pub: A pub library!

Barclays Bank supports ‘Digital Eagles’ which provides computer sessions for those who want to learn to use one; often the older generation. Again two pubs in Pevensey provide free tea, coffee and cake for those who take a seven week course with Barclays, with an average attendance of twelve. They will soon be joined by more sessions in Herstmonceux.

‘Applause’ is a rural touring theatre, with support from Wealden District Council and Pub is The Hub. They were awarded nearly half a million pounds of funding from the Arts Council. With this funding they will be able to work on a project to bring events to rural pubs across the South East and East of England. So far there has been a very successful performance at a pub in Wadhurst and more are now planned.

‘Man Sheds’ are sheds or outbuildings offered to a charity which can provide space for a workshop. They are used by volunteers to make benches and other things which can be used in the local community. This is as much about bringing people together who are perhaps retired or out of work to give them a focus or somewhere to socialise. Two are planned as part of a pub in 2017.

And finally, there is a school allotment; in 2017 Pub is the Hub will be working with a pub in Herstmonceux to set up an allotment for the local primary school. The school is situated opposite the pub with easy access to the garden area via a pedestrian crossing. This could lead to other ideas – school dinner, competitions etc.

What a wealth of ideas of how communities can work with local pubs! I remember at the launch Wealden Council telling me that the pub is in many areas the last publicly available community building. They are keen to keep their pubs and encourage residents to use them. Pub is the Hub does a wonderful job in helping local authorities to set up these ideas and in helping pubs themselves to diversify, survive and thrive. For more information visit the Pub is the Hub website.

Written by

Brigid Simmonds

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