Villagers 'over the moon' to complete purchase of east Suffolk pub
- Credit: Racehorse Community Pub
An east Suffolk pub has been bought out by villagers following a four year campaign to save it from permanent closure.
The Racehorse in Westhall, near Southwold, was bought by the Race for the Racehorse campaign this week after it raised £160,000.
In October last year, the campaign was selected as one of the community organisations to be awarded a grant under the government's Community Ownership Fund – enabling the purchase of the pub to be completed.
Volunteers from the group applied for the government grant last summer after discovering cash would be made available in Chancellor Rishi Sunak's autumn Budget.
Since reopening under community management, the Racehorse has proved popular for its Suffolk beers, well-selected wines and home-cooked food.
Chris Punt, co-founder of the Race for the Racehorse campaign, said: “We needed another £96,000 to be able to buy the pub and were over the moon when we heard in October that we were one of just 21 community organisations in the UK to be awarded a grant under the government’s Community Ownership Fund.
"We were really pleased to receive feedback that the level of community support and the sound business case tipped the scales in our favour.”
The Racehorse had been closed for three years before being leased by the community in December 2019 – but now that the purchase has taken place, the future of the site is secured.
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The pub has been part of the Westhall community since about 1860 and now that the takeover is completed, it will be run by villagers.
Liz Miller, a resident of Westhall for more than 30 years, said: "Running our own pub has got everyone involved, whether growing fruit and veg for the kitchen, washing the dishes, making the ever-popular sausage rolls, serving behind the bar, cleaning the beer pipes, organizing events such as community lunches, quiz nights or the popular open mic evenings, or just being on hand to chat to anyone who needs a friendly ear.
"It’s been great to see everyone pulling together and I feel passionately about the value that our pub brings to the village."