WATCH: Inspiring tale of how Suffolk village saved its pub to revive the community
- Credit: Tony Pick
A Suffolk village’s story of how saving its pub helped revive the community has starred in a film to inspire people in overcoming rural challenges.
The Oyster Inn in Butley features in one of five short films produced by the Prince’s Countryside Fund to showcase the successes of it rural grant programme.
Butley’s once popular pub had fallen on hard times four years ago and looked set to close for good. But following a campaign in the village, Suffolk couple Judi and Andrew Newman bought the business, refurbished the historic building and reopened it in Easter 2017.
Since then, the pub has revived its traditional folk nights, established a micro-brewery and even set up Suffolk’s smallest cinema.
The couple also used the Prince’s Countryside Fund’s regional grant programme to open a small shop – the first in the village for around 30 years.
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Speaking in the video, Mrs Newman said the Prince’s Countryside Fund “fitted exactly what we were trying to do here at the Oyster” – to make it a place “everyone could come to”.
David Dean, who created the Save the Oyster Pub campaign, it was “absolutely fantastic” to have the pub open, together with the other service. “I cannot state the importance of the shop enough,” he added.
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Parish chairman David McGinity said that the situation in Butley had been “really difficult” as “we’d lost shops – we’d lost everything”. But since the pub reopened along with the village shop, he said young people were returning to the community.
Mrs Newman said she had was “really grateful” for the rural grant programme, which offers up to £50,000 for projects to provide a lasting legacy to the communities they seek to benefit.
Ellie Jesson, communications officer for the charity, explained the grant had been achieved thanks to players of the Postcode Lottery.
She said she was “delighted” to visit the Oyster to see its success. “This is exactly the kind of project that we love to support, and we are keen to share the story in the hope that it may inspire other communities elsewhere,” she added.
The film is also being used to support research by The Prince’s Countryside Fund, which has found rural communities are coming together to improve their quality of life but feel they are becoming more remote,
Visit The Prince’s Countryside Fund for more information.