Finance secured as “Painters Pub” continues to develop and grow as a vital community asset

An historic village inn frequented by two of the most famous English landscape painters and now owned by its residents receives long-term finance boost.

With an inn on its site going back all the way to 1305, The Lamarsh Lion Community Pub commands a superb view over the River Stour much loved and sketched by the renowned landscape artists Thomas Gainsborough and John Constable. On the Essex/Suffolk border about 10 miles northwest of Colchester, Lamarsh is a small village of around 180 residents who since 2017 have owned their community pub after it was put up for sale the year before.

Along with a successful community share issue, a grant from the ‘More Than a Pub’ legacy scheme, a loan from Co-operative & Community Finance, and a private loan; the community were able to proceed with the purchase of the pub and begin refurbishments from July 2017. Since then, repairs and renewals to guttering, roof tiling, chimney stacks, windows and doors as well as refitting and reequipping the trade kitchen, timber frame, damp issues and drainage have all been undertaken and completed.

Co-operative & Community Finance along with Co-op Loan Fund (managed by CCF) were pleased to help secure additional finance for the pub as it continues to develop and grow as a vital community asset. Kevin Lloyd-Evans, Lending and Relationship Manager at Co-operative & Community Finance said: “We are delighted to be able to support for The Lamarsh Lion. Our long-term finance was able to support the needs of the group. This type of finance was not available through other lenders. Rising energy prices have a created tough trading conditions, however with impressive leadership in place and a debt structure which supports the business, the outlook has significantly improved for the group.”

The Lamarsh Lion Community Pub in Lamarsh, Essex.

With a committee that offers a broad range of skills and experience, The Lamarsh Lion has built up a reputation as a place to eat and drink for families in the local area and has been doing well with theme nights and community focused activities. With residents also utilising the pub regularly for family parties, The Lamarsh Lion are truly establishing themselves as a family friendly affordable venue in the region.

Ruth Allison, Treasurer at The Lamarsh Lion Community Pub Ltd said: “Getting this further investment from Co-operative & Community Finance and Co-op Loan Fund has really been a boost to our group. The challenges of running a community business in the current economic environment are complex and persistent. Having a supportive lender who knows what you are going through, understands and is willing to help is much needed and appreciated. It is a refreshing approach to accessing community finance.”

The legacy ‘More Than a Pub Fund’ scheme provides loan finance of between £75,000 to £150,000 available to Community Owned Pubs at a discounted rate of interest for members of the Plunkett Foundation, length of term ranges from five to twenty years. Co-operative & Community Finance also helps support groups to access grant funding to help them develop business plans and pay for surveys through the Reach Fund. Please contact Co-operative & Community Finance for the full terms and conditions, and to discuss how your Community Owned Pub venture can be supported.

You can find out more about The Lamarsh Lion by visiting their website.