The Beeston Ploughshare, a community pub in Breckland, is delighted to be up and running at the heart of the local community following a generous funding boost.

Beeston Community Enterprises was formed by a group of villagers to purchase the pub and run it for the benefit of the area, and thanks to a grant of £20K received from the Breckland Business Innovation Den – which is funded by Breckland Council and administered by Norfolk Community Foundation – the pub committee was able to carry out the extensive repairs, refurbishment and kitchen equipment purchases needed to enable the Beeston Ploughshare to open and become a vital community hub.

The pub, restaurant and coffee bar are now up and running, serving a variety of ales, hot and cold drinks and delicious meals, with the community shop planned to open this October. The oldest part of the current building dates back to 1620 and is full of centuries of memories and village tradition, with rooms dedicated to famous local residents of Beeston, including Jem Mace, heavyweight boxing champion of the world in the 19th century, the American Airforce 392nd Bombardment Group based in Beeston during the Second World War, and the village’s rich agricultural history. A large number of local residents have expressed interest in volunteering at the pub alongside the small staff team, and the team is currently expanding the number of events and community services offered, targeting different communities in the area.

Geoff Sorrell, Company Secretary at Beeston Community Enterprises Ltd and chef Mark Woods behind the bar

Mark Robinson, Breckland Council’s Executive Member for Community, Leisure and Culture, commented: “Residents in the area have shown great community spirit and a real passion for the project, so I’m delighted that the council has been able to support the reopening of this important community hub.”

Mark Mower, Head of Knowledge and Partnerships at Norfolk Community Foundation, said: “Norfolk Community Foundation is delighted to be working with Breckland Council to provide vital grant support to local businesses such as the Beeston Ploughshare, enabling them to grow and offer important social and economic benefits to the wider community.”

Geoff Sorrell, Company Secretary at Beeston Community Enterprises Ltd, said: “Without the grant we received from the Breckland Business Innovation Den the pub would simply not have been able to open – we are very grateful for their support. The local community is delighted and is turning up in large numbers. The Beeston Ploughshare is committed to continuing its local focus, supporting the community and sourcing our goods from local suppliers wherever possible.”