A £237,500 government donation appears to have saved a popular country pub in Wiltshire.
The community campaign to buy and reopen The Silks on the Downs in Ogbourne St Andrew has received the money and could now serve pints again this summer.
For two years, residents of the hamlets of Ogbourne St Andrew, Rockley and Ogbourne Maizey have been raising money to save the pub after it closed at the start of the pandemic. They have now raised £240,000.
That money has now been matched by the government through its Community Property Fund, which is designed to help save pubs in rural areas.
The Silks, as it is known locally, has not opened since the pandemic hit in March 2020. However, the owner has offered the community the opportunity to purchase the pub, renovate it and refurbish it. manage for the benefit of the community.
The campaign to save the pub was backed by Devizes Constituency MP Danny Kruger, who said: “I believe passionately in the power of communities coming together to achieve things they could not do on their own. The campaign to save and buy the Silks is a prime example.
Announcing the cash prize, the Department of Leveling, Housing and Communities said: ‘In rural Wiltshire, a pub that has stood at the heart of the communities in the hamlets of Ogbourne Saint Andrew, Maizey and Rockley for over 100 years was thrown a lifeline with an investment of £237,500.
“The Silks pub is the only place locals can meet, making it vital to the life, well-being and economy of the community.”
Simon Basford, spokesperson for the Silks campaign, said: “We are absolutely delighted with the success of our funding application, it means we can now move forward to finalize a purchase.”
Mr Basford said a pub manager would soon be appointed and it was hoped the Silks could be open for the summer.
The community is now busy renovating the Silks, updating the kitchen and installing new disabled access and toilets with baby changing facilities and sprucing up the garden – and supporters of the Pubs Save Project call for help.
“To reduce costs, we would greatly appreciate if people could help us with the renovation by providing services, materials and their time. Any help from people with specialist skills, such as plumbers, electricians or gardeners, would be great,” Mr Basford said.
Those who can help can contact the campaign team at firstname.lastname@example.org