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Campaigners move forward with fight to save local pub

A GROUP of residents campaigning to save a much-loved local pub from being redeveloped are celebrating news that the building has been listed as an Asset of Community Value (ACV).

The news means that the group now have the opportunity to express interest in buying the The Royal Oak pub in Broadway, which  closed its doors at the beginning of April, after owners Wadworth put the pub up for sale.

The group has announced that if they are successful in purchasing the pub, they plan to re-launch the building as a community hub, offering the local community a multi-purpose venue run by the community, for the community.

Group member Marcus Squires said, “In the past this process has been successfully achieved by several community interest groups in the local area. Past campaigners have offered valuable insights along our journey and we have also been given great support from the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) who are supporting a variety of pubs in similar situations.

“Our next step will be to set up a ‘community benefits society’ which will enable us to express our interest in purchasing the building. Once that bid has been accepted, there is a six-month period for us to buy. In order to raise sufficient funds, we will be launching a series of fundraising initiatives. This is where we need the support of our community with ideas of what you would like from your new hub, and ways to raise the funds we need.

“So why a community hub? A pub is not just a place where people go for a drink, it is a neighbourhood resource, where people form social connections, a sense of belonging, and networking amongst friends and neighbours. The letters and emails sent to Mendip when the pub was first closed indicated that ‘The Oak’ was so much more than just a drinking place.

“Loneliness is a public health epidemic, as pointed out by the team behind the award-winning initiative ‘Compassionate Frome’ and there are serious health implications arising from loneliness and isolation both physical, and mental.

“As a team of former Royal Oak locals, from all walks of life, we have not only become dedicated to keeping one of the few original drinking establishments in Frome open, but to extending its range, to reach a larger target audience and to be a resource that can be used all day every day, by all sections of our community.

“We already have some ideas about using it for young families, elderly, carer support, sports groups, traditional pub game teams, and fundraising nights. We would also love to link up with local schools and health services to determine how we can help them deliver their services in our venue.

“The pub is spacious and when redesigning it, it would be our ambition to make it as user-friendly for a variety of purposes as possible.”

To get involved in the campaign or to find out more, visit the Facebook page ‘Save The Royal Oak Frome’ or email the team: savetheroyaloakfrome@ gmail.com

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