(Credit: The Elmswell Tavern)

A village community pub has surpassed £100k in funds raised to go ahead with refurbishments.

The Railway Tavern, in Elmswell, is now able to move forward with their project having passed the amount needed to make it viable for redevelopment.

Signs at the entrance to the village encouraging people to buy shares

The venue, which already underwent refurbishments in 2021 to make it more appealing to visitors for drinking, is aiming to develop further to be able to serve food.

The Tavern’s redevelopment is part of a greater scheme for that area of the village which also aims to build 12 affordable houses.

Peter Dow, secretary of Elmswell Community Enterprise (ECE), the organisation responsible for the Tavern, pointed to the group’s other successes with the Village Hall and Wesley Café to show what they can do with the Tavern, saying: “We hunker down, we fight our corner and we win.

“It’s not only a new pub, it’s a new facility for the village that just happens to be a pub.

“The key thing is to get to that £100k, because the deal is if we didn’t reach that point, people could have their money back and we’ll go home.

“Now we have that degree of provenance which gives that degree of confidence to more people, and enables us to say to grant aiders and other funders that we have reached that level.

“What we now have to do is look at the possibilities of reaching the most basic level we are happy with in terms of refurbished community pub, and that most basic thing is it must provide food.”

The village bought the pub off of Greene King in 2020, and has been open for shares since October 15.

ECE have now extended the period for purchasing shares until 15 May

The previous refurbishment to reopen for drinks was achieved through over 1000 hours of volunteer work.

When informed of the news about the milestone being reached Andy Mellen, county councillor for Thedwastre North, the division which encompasses Elmswell, said it was: “Fantastic.

“I’ve attended a few events at the Tavern and it is always buzzing.

A family fun day hosted at the Tavern (Credit: The Elmswell Tavern)

“It’s a really important hub for the community, and the social housing that’s going to come out of the project as well is very needed and welcome.

The Tavern was shortlisted for Suffolk Pub of the Year in 2022, and is currently closed whilst preparing for refurbishment.

A display sign at the front of the Tavern indicating its temporary closure

It serves a range of drinks including Suffolk’s own Aspalls and Greene King’s Icebreaker.

Featured image credit: The Elmswell Tavern

Community pubs are pubs that are owned by the people of the community in which they are situated. They can often rely on voluntary work and people from the community helping out with aspects of running it where necessary. Members invest in a pub and become part owners of it.