Villagers are celebrating the reopening of their local pub after spending ten years raising 500K to buy it.
Locals have spent a decade fighting to save The Rising Sun from being converted by property developers into new homes.
The community group ‘Save Our Sun’ worked tirelessly with fundraisers and events to raise half the half million pounds to buy it, before beginning marathon renovation work themselves, as it had lain empty for a decade and fallen into disrepair.
The pub in Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire, has now been reborn as a boozer but also a community hub.
“This is a testament, not only to the hard work of the committee and community who have come together to help with renovations,” said Michelle Hayes, chair of Save Our Sun, their fundraising non-profit.
“They had belief in this project and are supporting the pub, making it something really special now it is open as a vital community hub.”
The pub had closed in October 2011 and was purchased by a developer in 2012.
Resident Lynne Fletcher, who lived around 60 yards away from the pub at the time of its closure, said that the real estate agents said it was being sold as a pub, and so the community at first wasn’t worried.
“The first indication something was wrong was when a neighbor asked a workman how long before it would be before it re-opened again,” said Fletcher. “He told him ‘It’ll never open as a pub again mate’.”
Residents began battling with planning applications and appeals and the Forest of Dean District Council declared The Rising Sun as a community asset in 2013.
After years of battling, the new owners, who had bought the pub to convert into two semi-detached houses, eventually agreed to sell it to the Save Our Sun group at the end of last year.
The community sold shares at £100 each and managed to raise over £300,000 through fundraising events with a grant from the government of £175,000 topping it up so they could buy the pub earlier this year.
Volunteers then worked for months to restore the pub, which had fallen into disrepair after being closed for over a decade, and The Rising Sun finally opened this week.
The villagers have been celebrating the success of their hard work and have already enjoyed an open mic night at the pub.
“It was a great little pub and it’s where everybody got to know each other,” said Fletcher.
“The pub will also be a community hub for volunteer groups, such as collecting the isolated and elderly for coffee mornings, parent and toddler groups, and job skills and clubs. We also have a community room upstairs,” added Hayes.
SHARE This Piece Of Hard Work And Dedication With The Community…