Village pub reopens as community store

The Ferry Inn at Stokesby

The Ferry Inn at Stokesby - Credit: Archant

A rural pub forced to close during the coronavirus lockdown has reopened as a community store serving the residents of Stokesby.

Thanks to the Pub is the Hub campaign, supported by Norfolk County Council, the Ferry Inn is now open to every resident in the village, and will particularly help those who are avoiding busy public places to limit their exposure.

The scheme has so far introduced a variety of new services and amenities into 150 pubs across the country.

From shops to IT drop-in sessions, post offices to cafes, pubs are hosting a wide array of new ventures to invigorate and improve their local community life.

MORE: More of Norfolk’s recycling centres could soon reopen after coronavirus closureCllr Bill Borrett, cabinet member for adult services, said: “Pub is the Hub is a great scheme designed to help rural pubs connect with their communities in new and innovative ways.

“The scheme has helped create drop-in sessions, IT classes and all sorts of services that benefit the residents or rural communities.

“This new community shop at The Ferry Inn, Stokesby will help to serve the residents of the village, providing a vital service in these difficult times.

“It’s a great sign of the resilience and attitude of business owners in Norfolk that even in this time, people are willing to begin new projects and businesses designed to help the people of Norfolk.

“I’d encourage other publicans and rural community groups to find more about how Pub is the Hub, in partnership with Norfolk County Council, can support them in bringing new services to their community.”

In March 2019, The Lodge in North Tuddenham opened a community shop, thanks to support from Pub is the Hub and a grant from Norfolk County Council.

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The shop continues to sell locally sourced fruit, vegetables, dairy, meats, take away coffees and ready-made Indian meals as well as everyday essentials.

Norfolk County Council has said it is proud to be a long-standing partner of Pub is the Hub, having given over £40,000 in the last 5 years through its Community Services Fund.

The fund offers help and support to publicans across Norfolk to invest in new ways to support and engage with the local community.