Office of the Third Sector launches programme to help communities buy pubs

It follows a scheme that promotes community ownership of village shops

A £3.3m support programme to help communities buy their local pubs has been launched by the Office of the Third Sector.

The programme, expected to support 50 communities through the process of taking pubs into community ownership, is being administered by the Plunkett Foundation, a charity that supports the development of social enterprise in rural communities.

The fund will provide communities with grants, which will be match-funded by loans from social lender Co-operative and Community Finance.

The foundation has already run a scheme to help local communities buy village shops threatened with closure.

"Community ownership can secure the future of pubs, just as it is doing for village shops, through harnessing the creativity and energy of a whole community," said Peter Couchman, chief executive of the Plunkett Foundation.

The announcement would "make a real and lasting difference to communities", he said.

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