Early in 2011 a group of about 100 residents of the Cumbrian village of Crosby Ravensworth, in the Lakes District’s Lyvennet Valley, gathered in the village hall. At issue was the impending closure of the parish’’s only remaining pub, the Butcher’’s Arms.

In the hall that night a vote was taken to save the pub. A cooperative was formed, an offer made to the departing owners and a process was set in train which would strengthen community life in the village.

The offer of £255,000 was made in March 2011 and the newly formed cooperative was given until June to come up with the funds. By June 7 around £300,000 had been raised from 297 members including local MP for Penrith and the Border, Rory Stewart, enough to buy the property and to refurbish it.

Little more than two months later on August 17, 2011, the British Prime Minister David Cameron came to the pub for “lunch and a chat” as a pub’’s spokeswoman Kitty Smith explains. The PM was the first to sign the pub’’s visitor book.

Ten days later the re-named Lyvennet Community Pub was officially opened. Jetting in for the event was a member from Australia. John Stubbs had grown up in the pub during his family’s ownership from 1958 until 1978. When he heard back home in Australia that the cooperative was looking for members and funds he offered to help out.

These days you have to book a table if you’’d like to eat at the pub on the weekends. Tuesday night is musicians’ night, Thursday lunchtime is a lunch club for senior members of the parish. And on Friday nights the village’s school kids drop in for a coke. Food is sourced by the pub’’s kitchen from local cattle and sheep farmers. The village pub lives on.

IYC Yearbook feature: https://ica.coop/en/iycbook