Friends Of The Crown

Frequently Asked Questions

In response to the community survey we carried out in June 2023 we have compiled a list of frequently asked questions and answers below.  If you have any other questions then please get in touch with us at [email protected].

What is a Community Pub?

Community Pubs are businesses owned and controlled by the community for the benefit of the community. They have an open and voluntary membership, giving members part ownership. Community pubs actively encourage individuals from their community to become members by purchasing membership shares, the cost of which are set at an accessible level.

Why set up a Community Pub?

Pubs are one of Britain’s oldest and most popular social institutions and play a key role in our local communities. In small villages without amenities they are particularly valuable, as they are in effect hubs in which our community members can come together to interact and socialise. The value of a pub to a community is often not fully realised until it closes or is threatened with closure. Increasingly communities have become more determined to take action in response to pub closures and have turned towards co‑operative solutions, in order to save their pub. Where there’s a pub, there’s a community.

Is a Community Pub run by members of the community?

Not necessarily. Once in community ownership, an elected committee will represent the wider membership and determine how the business is managed. The committee will either delegate the day-to-day management of the business to a team of paid staff and volunteers, or sublet to a tenant who will operate the business within a framework set by the community.

Is a Community Pub just a place to eat and drink?

As well as food and drink, Community Pubs can provide a wide range of additional services such as accommodation, shops, postal services and book exchanges, to name but a few. As such, they frequently become a hive of activity within the community.

How are Community Pubs funded?

The finance required for Community Pubs is mostly raised through community share offers with the rest made up of grants, loans and services in kind (e.g. local builders). Grants for Community Pubs can currently be obtained via the government’s Community Ownership Fund, which will match the funding raised by a community (shares, loans and services in kind) up to a value of £250,000.

How much do Community Pubs cost?

The average cost of purchasing a Community Pub during 2021 was £313,833 and the average set-up cost was £244,133

Are Community Pubs successful?

Although a relatively small sector, the number of Community Pubs has been growing steadily during the last decade. By the end of 2021, 146 had been opened. Of these, only one has permanently closed to date. One reason for the high success rate is Community Pubs have proven to be resilient as they benefit from low running costs. This is a consequence of their funding model, which in many cases mainly comprise share capital and grants, thus there is little debt to service and no rent! 

Most importantly though, the success of Community Pub is dependent on the support it receives from its own community.

What is a Community Benefit Society?

A Community Benefit Society conducts business for the benefit of the community, about two thirds of Community Pubs have chosen a CBS as their legal entity. It has voluntary, open membership and is well suited to democratic accountability with its one member, one vote system. This means all members have an equal say in how they want their local pub to be run, regardless of the number of shares they purchase. 

A CBS provides for the wider community as well as its members, and pre-tax trading profits can either be reinvested in the business, used to pay interest to shareholders or distributed for social or charitable purposes in accordance with its rules. Membership of a CBS is established by the purchase of at least one share, which are withdrawable at the discretion of the management committee.

Where can I find out more?

If you do a search for Community Pubs you will find lots of references, but here are some of our favourites –

Pub is the Hub 

CAMRA (the Campaign for Real Ale) 

Plunkett Foundation 

An “Independent’ viewpoint