The vision and effort of one community came to fruition on Saturday, when a village pub re-opened its doors.
Redgrave Cross Keys is now run by villagers after Redgrave Community Society took ownership at the end of November.
It followed months of negotiations and work behind the scenes, after the community learned last April that the pub’s owners intended to sell.
As the pub had previously been registered as an Asset of Community Value (ACV) with Mid Suffolk District Council, the sale announcement triggered a six-week period in which a community group could announce its intention to buy the pub, followed by a six-month moratorium after an intention to bid was submitted.
Redgrave Community Society was formed in July 2017 with the aim of taking on the pub and, on October 24, submitted an offer to owners Colin and Ann Ceresa which was accepted.
Fiona Kenworthy, of Redgrave Community Society, said: “When the Cross Keys was offered for sale to the community we were at a huge advantage that it had already been registered as an ACV.
“Following a village survey to gauge the commitment of the community to work together to try to buy the pub through the purchase of shares and fund-raising activities, we registered our interest in submitting a bid.”
“Having achieved our goal and picked up the keys on November 24, the benefits to the community have been more than we had ever imagined – not only the sense of pride and empowerment at having succeeded in buying our own pub, which we aim to thoroughly enjoy as a lively hub within our community but, with the large number who volunteered to help with the refurbishment over the past three months, the improved community cohesion has been remarkable.
“We now look forward to our pub and our community enjoying a bright new future together for many years to come.”
Cllr Julie Flatman, Mid Suffolk District Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities, said: “In any locality, a specific place or business can put the heart into the community and that is doubly true in rural areas. Redgrave have been a real example for us all, as the community pulled together. I hope many more communities follow their example.”
The pub opened on Saturday, with its kitchen following on Wednesday.