FEATURE: A pint with a difference as a community pub in Bamford held an open weekend to give something back

Some of the directors of the Anglers Rest Community Pub at the farmers market which started their fun day of free events
Some of the directors of the Anglers Rest Community Pub at the farmers market which started their fun day of free events

The first community pub in the county held an open day at the weekend to remind people how far the project has come in a short space of time.

The Anglers Rest, on Main Road in Bamford, does not just sell beer but coffee and stamps too as the community project expanded and became a post office, and cafe as well as a pub.

As part of a national scheme the Community Business Weekend aims were to raise awareness about the benefits of the community business model, including its impacts on the area and the pub opened its doors for free family fun.

The day was funded after the pub received a cheque for £1,000 for being highly commended an online competition organised by Heinz for being heart-warming heroes.

Liz Marshall Bamford community society director said: “The money had to be spent on a community event and we wanted to do the open weekend so it made perfect sense to fund it with that money.

“And although the weather was terrible people from all ages came out and got involved in dancing and bunting making or just playing games which I think reflects the grit and community spirit Bamford has and the diversity the business has.”

There was a farmers market followed by an afternoon of giant family games and a free Ceilidh dance with dancers being entertained by the Well Dressed Band.

The Anglers also offered free Hope Valley ice creams with every meal, throughout the weekend.

Amanda Taylor, General Manager, said: “We were delighted to be taking part in this special weekend and welcomed many people to take a closer look at what we do here.”

Company Power to Change, the organisation launched to support and help grow community businesses in England, was driving forward this campaign hoping to raise awareness of how local people can get involved to address the needs of the local community.

Richard Harries, director of the Power to Change Research Institute said: “The Community Business weekend celebrates a sector which not only brings great benefits to communities, it also employs almost 27,000 people in England.

“The Anglers Rest in Bamford is a vital part of the community.”

The journey from failing to thriving pub is a true underdog tale.

Sarah Bawden, part of the Bamford Community Society, said: “In 2012, when our pub was at risk of permanent closure, someone suggested that we buy it ourselves.

“It was a pipe dream, but something that day took hold. We were a group of different people, with different ideas and strengths, but united in our belief that the pub was the heart of the village, and that with care and thought, the Angler’s Rest could be a real community hub.”

The members had to protect the building, registering the pub as Derbyshire’s first Community Asset.

Community assets are land and buildings owned or managed by community organisations. Land and buildings are only community assets if they are capable of generating a profit that can be reinvested into activities that benefit the community.

Then the fundraising began and the team raised more than £260,000 to buy The Angler’s Rest off the develop and keep it open.

Two and a half years later the project employ 25 staff in a range of flexible roles, along with three full time staff running the post office, which was also earmarked for closure and in the kitchen and pub.

Four staff have been put through NVQs and now the business is recruiting for two apprentices.

Amanda Taylor said: “The Anglers is not only a great idea which has helped our community to thrive, it is also a very special place where people from across all age groups and walks of life come together.

“We host craft groups, coffee mornings and sports teams plus of course our regular committed quizzers and we also welcome tourists and people who have just popped in for a quick coffee or a pint.

“The feedback people give us is that the community spirit of the place makes it feel special, and people appreciate putting something into a business which is giving something back to the community it serves.”

All of The Anglers profits go back into the business and developing more and better services.

The Anglers has been financially supported through a number of donations from the Big Lottery Fund, The Prince’s Trust, and Power to Change.

Sarah Bawden said: “Annually we put over £100,000 into the local economy in wages, with 90 per cent of our staff living locally.

“Wherever possible we buy local, because for this unique community business, home really is where the heart is.”

For more information or to become a member visit www.anglers.rest/