Royal visit to Lottery funded project a success
In this blog, Joe Ferns, our UK Knowledge and Portfolio Director, tells us about a Royal visit to one of our funded projects.
Last Friday (17 March), His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales visited the Wadworth brewery in Devizes, Wiltshire and took a tour of the site as part of a celebration event for lottery funded project, Pub is the Hub.
Pub is the Hub received £452,925 of National Lottery funding in February 2015 through our Reaching Communities programme. The project is made up of specialist voluntary advisors for rural pubs and licensees who are thinking of broadening their range of services. Often this involves developing unused space to create a community hub and other services the local area needs such as a Post Office, crèche or shop.
I represented the Big Lottery Fund at the event, where the Prince chatted with the brewery team about the brewery process, met the artists who create the Wadworth pubs signs by hand, as well as the brewery’s famous shire horses. He also got the chance to pull a pint of Wadworth 6X – the brewery’s iconic real ale. The Prince then painted in the final piece to a plaque created to commemorate his visit.
It was an extremely successful event, with funders of the project receiving special thanks and recognition…
Chris Welham, CEO of Wadworth, one of the many regional pub operators who contribute to the project, said: “It has been an absolute pleasure to welcome His Royal Highness and representatives of Pub is the Hub to our brewery. The work that the Prince and Pub is the Hub do to enable pubs remain central to their communities cannot be underestimated. I’m a firm believer that with a viable local pub, the community in which you live becomes a much better place. Pub is the Hub can proudly say their funding and advice has played a fundamental part in pulling communities together.”
John Longden, Chief Executive of Pub is the Hub since its inception in 2001, added: “Together with our patrons we wanted to say an enormous thank you to the organisations and businesses who have been stalwarts in supporting Pub is the Hub through the years. We exist entirely on donations and goodwill support from people who understand how much hard work goes into running a rural or community pub and also how vital these places are for economic, cultural and social cohesion.”
It was an honour and delight to represent the Big Lottery Fund at this Royal visit. I want to say thank you to the National Lottery players who have helped make funding this fantastic project possible. Having previously visited another Pub is the Hub site, I’ve seen and heard first-hand about the positive impact it can have on a community. I asked one of the license holders during my visit how he would describe the difference it had made to the area. His answer was: “It used to take ten minutes to walk across the village. These days, it takes over an hour because everyone talks to each other.”