A COMMUNITY-owned pub has toasted a successful year and raised a glass to a prosperous future.

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The Sorrel Horse in Shottisham, near Woodbridge, is coming to the end of its first full year as a community-owned village pub after regulars and locals clubbed together to buy the freehold in August 2011.

The Sorrel Horse Shottisham Ltd began offering shares of £500 – with no one owning more than 5% of the total – and has now less than 40 left to sell.

A busy last 12 months has included a great deal of refurbishment, with the completion of a new thatched roof, an updated kitchen, and other interior and exterior repairs.

The pub’s success has exceeded initial expectations, and it is hoped that large one-off expenses like the thatch and kitchen will be repaid in savings and efficiency.

Managing director of the pub’s company, Philip Bouscarle, said: “Next year we want to try and make the building more energy efficient and move the staircase.

“We want to put new refrigeration throughout the pub. At the moment the energy bill is through the roof but we think with this change we can make some savings and get good, efficient refrigeration. The main focus going forward is an increase on the take on food. The drink side is pretty regular but we would like to do more meals.

“However, we still want to keep it very much as a drinkers’ pub – we don’t want to lose that character.

“I think we will be OK. We have a solid customer base, especially with the shareholders being involved.”

At the pub’s AGM in November, it was announced that turnover was £234,000 – an increase of 39% on the previous year and 24% higher than budgeted.

Almost all of the 900 available shares have now been sold to 208 individual shareholders.

The pub has started hosting live music and has plans for Burns Night and Valentine’s events.

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