Please send me SCA's fortnightly briefing:

July 30, 2014

It’s good to travel

Earlier this year, we criticised Scottish Government for not replenishing the Knowledge and Skills Exchange Fund. This fund provided small bursaries for community groups to cover the costs of visiting other communities and to facilitate the exchange of learning and ideas. Some networks have their own bespoke funds and one such is Plunkett Scotland, who funded a group of aspiring community pub owners to visit established examples in the North of England. The impact of these visits was predictably impressive.



Plunkett Scotland

The Plunkett Foundation has recently launched its first annual report on the UK co-operative pub sector, ‘Co-operative Pubs 2014 – A Better Form of Business’.

There are 27 community co-operative pubs trading in England and while Scotland has over 30 community-owned shops, the co-operative pub scene has been very quiet. However, things are starting to change.  A number of community groups are looking at ways of saving their local pub and four of them have recently taken part in study visit to learn about the co-operative model. 

The Group visited four pubs in Northern England to learn about the practicalities of setting up and running a community co-operative pub. The host pubs had a wealth of knowledge and experience and covered everything from legal structure to community shares to tenancy arrangements. The Group came away full of ideas and inspiration and are now well equipped with a good understanding of what they need to do.

 “We learned considerably more than expected, not only about buying and running a pub but also community shop, library and social housing” – Pittenweem Community Trust.

“The trip was really informative and enjoyable. It showed pubs actually operating as community-owned businesses, and gave the group an honest and open insight into how they operate, including the triumphs and difficulties associated with them. A great few days that have heartened me in that it strengthened my belief that we can not only open the Crook Inn but also run it as a successful operation” – Tweedsmuir Community Company. “The study visit was really inspiring and we all learned so much. The range of services that have been added on to the pubs was amazing – there was a library, shops, an orchard and allotment and even a school meal service. Although I’ve been working with community co-op shops for a number of years hearing from the pubs really reminded me of how simple and effective the co-operative model is” – Kirsty, Plunkett’s Co-ordinator in Scotland.

The study visit was funded by the Princes Countryside Fund through Plunkett Scotland’s ‘Seeing is Believing’ Programme which offers study visits and mentor support to rural community enterprises. To find out more please contact Kirsty