Prince of Wales will help regenerate 50 villages using pubs as community 'hubs'

Tony Gosling tony at
Sat Jul 17 12:55:02 BST 2010

Prince of Wales will help regenerate 50 villages using pubs as community 'hubs'
The Prince of Wales will announce plans to regenerate 50 remote 
villages by using local pubs as community centres when he reveals the 
first beneficiaries of his new Countryside Fund charity next week. 

By Gordon Rayner, Chief Reporter
Published: 10:00PM BST 16 Jul 2010
The Prince of Wales will support the Pub is the Hub scheme through 
his new charity, The Prince's Countryside Fund Photo: GETTY

The Pub is the Hub scheme has already transformed 400 villages in 
England by providing amenities such as post offices, shops, school 
meals and playgrounds at pubs which in many cases were threatened 
with closure.

Projects to sustain hill farming in Cumbria and support vulnerable 
farmers in the North East will also receive grants when the 
Countryside Fund is formally launched on July 22.

The Prince has set up the Countryside Fund to help small family 
farmers and struggling villages to stay viable in the long term.

As well as providing grants, the charity, which is being supported by 
more than a dozen businesses including Waitrose, will build up an 
emergency fund to help farmers in times of crisis, such as outbreaks 
of livestock diseases.

John Longden, chief executive of Pub is the Hub, said the Prince's 
decision to support the organisation would provide a "phenomenal" 
boost, enabling it to expand the scheme to Wales.

He said: "We know there is already a lot of interest in Wales, where 
times are going to be hard for those living and working in the 
countryside over the next few years, and this will enable us to help 
some of the most vulnerable communities.

"The key is to identify what is needed in each community and meet 
that need using spare rooms or land at the local pub, whether it be a 
shop, playground, meals for the elderly or even allotments.

"There are so many benefits; it not only helps to keep the pubs going 
and provide essential services, but it provides part-time jobs and 
creates a market for local produce.

"What really inspires people to give their time to make these schemes 
work is the fact that the Prince is backing it and has shown that it 
works elsewhere."

The Countryside Fund will pay for the costs of setting up a Pub is 
the Hub office in Wales, which will advise publicans and local 
authorities on how they can implement the scheme. Building work and 
other capital costs will be met by local councils and pub owners.

The two other organisations which have been chosen as the Fund's 
first beneficiaries are The Farmer Network, which will use its grant 
to train eight people in hill farming skills, and Upper Teesdale 
Agricultural Support Service, which will give IT training to 24 
farmers to help them manage their businesses more efficiently, as 
well as providing advice to 450 hill farming businesses.

When he announced the Fund earlier this month, the Prince said: "In 
the countryside generally and rural communities there is a great deal 
more hardship than people realise.

"It looks wonderful but it isn't always like that."
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