Cheers! Delight in Suffolk village as pub reopens in hands of community

The reopening of the Cross Keys pub in Redgrave. Picture: ELAINE BROWN/FIONA KENWORTHY

The reopening of the Cross Keys pub in Redgrave. Picture: ELAINE BROWN/FIONA KENWORTHY - Credit: Archant

A community group’s campaign to save a Suffolk village’s only pub reached a new milestone last night when it reopened following months of fundraising.

The reopening attracted a number of punters to the Cross Keys pub on Saturday night. Picture: ELAINE

The reopening attracted a number of punters to the Cross Keys pub on Saturday night. Picture: ELAINE BROWN/FIONA KENWORTHY - Credit: Archant

For 11 months the community spirit in Redgrave, near Diss, shone as residents worked hard fundraising to save the Cross Keys.

The Redgrave Community Society Limited was formed to buy the pub as a community asset and in November they became owners of the Grade II listed building.

On Saturday night the drinks were once again flowing as pub - which has been closed since October - celebrated its reopening.

Committee member Fiona Kenworthy said: “We are really elated at the moment with how it has gone. It is a relief that we have reached the stage that we set out to. Everybody has been so complimentary.”

The Cross Keys pub in Redgrave, which was saved by the community following a fundraising campaign, h

The Cross Keys pub in Redgrave, which was saved by the community following a fundraising campaign, has reopened. Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant


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She added: “The place was absolutely heaving. The doors opened at 5.30pm and people we queuing up to come in.

“It was lovely the whole atmosphere and there was a buzz.”

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The new general manager is Georgina Earland and Naomi Miller-Howard is the head chef. The pair met at their previous job.

From Wednesday food will start being served, and will include light bites and snacks and traditional pub food.

Well behaved dogs are welcome in part of the building – which has a bar and restaurant area - and customers can enjoy tipples from Redgrave brewery Star Wing, Adnams and Green King.

Mrs Kenworthy said she hoped the efforts of the community to save the Cross Keys, which has had some internal redecoration, could inspire others.

She said: “I really hope that people who are in the same situation can look at us and it can act as an inspiration and think, ‘yes, it can be done’.

“If you really want something you can make it happen. People have been so kind and helpful to us, so if there is any advice we could offer, we would be delighted to give a hand.”

And not happy with keeping their local open, the community group is looking into taking over the ownership of the village shop.

“The project now is to bring the community shop over and move it within the grounds of the pub.

“It will secure its future because at the moment it is on a lease.”

Visit www.redgravecommunitysociety.com for more information.

The Fox Inn success story

In 2016 a community group acquired The Fox Inn, Garboldisham, near Diss.

The village’s pub had stood empty for nine years, during which the community fought hard to fend off applications to change the use of the pub and to make it once again the heart of the community.

The group’s dream was achieved in October 2016 when the Garboldisham Fox Community Interest Company was given the keys to the Grade-II listed pub.

In December 2016 a micropub was launched for the villagers to enjoy the pub while works to restore the building take place and is open three days a week.

The community group offered advice to the Redgrave residents about buying the pub.

Fundraising for the £180,000 saw £85,000 raised by the community, 66 people became shareholders, and the rest came from loans.

There are now 106 shareholders and 30 volunteers who give up their time to work at the pub.

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