HUNDREDS of locals are helping to raise money to become part-owners of the UK’s first town centre co-operative pub.
A year after the 19th Century Y Saith Seren (Seven Stars) in Wrexham, North Wales, re-opened as a community-owned enterprise, another £40,000 is being raised to create a Welsh cultural centre in the building.
Marc Jones, who chairs the community-owned co-operative, known as Canolfan Gymraeg Wrecsam Cyfyngedig, said: “This is a landmark building in the town and it is great to see it back in use, illustrating what can be achieved when communities work together.
“The pub re-opened as a co-operative last January and this second phase will enable the first floor to be refurbished. It will be continuing the work to transform the building into a centre for the community by offering music, poetry and film alongside meeting rooms, office space and community facilities to promote Welsh language and culture.”
Michael Fairclough of the Co-operative, which is supporting the initiative through its Enterprise Hub, said: “We are witnessing communities across the country, driven by needs other than to maximise profit, turning to co-operatively-owned solutions for the running of businesses.
“A well-run pub is an important part of the social fabric of a community and, enterprises such as this – operated by a general public concerned for community cohesion, accountability, transparency, and sustainability – are showing how, by working together, they can tackle some of the unprecedented challenges currently facing our society, environment and economy.”
There has been a near-10% increase in UK co-operative enterprises over the past two years.