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First Suffolk community pub opens

The Case is Altered in Bentley opened it’s door to the public for the first time last week since the local community campaigned to buy the pub, for an open day. Over 200 people came to see the pub over the course of an afternoon even though not a single plate of food nor pint of beer were served!

Supported by and a member of the Plunkett Foundation, the Case is Altered was the last remaining pub in Bentley. It was closed between August and October 2012 and, after a brief period under a temporary manager, closed again in March 2013. However, with support from the Plunkett Foundation, a group of Bentley residents came together to buy the pub with a view to run it for the benefit of the community. Every year a staggering 2,500 rural pubs shut down and too often the value of a pub to a community is often not fully realised until it closes or is threatened with closure. Increasingly communities have become more determined to do something and take action to save their pub.

Case-is-Altered-24.02.2014-low-res.jpg0e80b21a-c215-46e5-a017-6e362aea7a46David Westley, Chairman of Bentley Community Pub Ltd, said: “We made our initial call to Plunkett’s Pub Helpline in June last year. We are thrilled we have completed our community purchase of the Case is Altered and received the keys to the pub last week. Now the hard work really begins preparing the pub for reopening, for which our target date is currently the Easter weekend. Our thanks goes to the local community for their strong support and all the team at Plunkett for their support, we couldn’t have done it without them!”

James Alcock, Head of Frontline at Plunkett, said: “We are delighted that the Case is Altered has been saved by the community – it demonstrates just what can be achieved when a community comes together with a common goal. Our Frontline team has supported the Bentley community by setting up a legal structure for the community co-operative; and through the My Community Rights programme, working with experienced individuals from other successful community-owned businesses including co-operative pub The Green Man at Toppesfield, Essex and Ryburgh Community Shop, Norfolk.”

A co-operative pub is where a significant part of a community comes together to form a co-operative to try and save and run their local. Co-operative pubs make a vital contribution to building a more sustainable community by helping to regenerate the local economy, increase democratic control, reduce loneliness and even save on car journeys, not to mention improving community spirit. To-date 22 co-operative pubs have opened across the UK. If you would like more information please see www.pubs.coop.

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