News story

Pub at the heart of community puts its stamp on local services

British Pub Week - focus on The Kings Arms, Cumbria

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Pints of beer

The Kings Arms is a family run village pub located in the village of Stainton near Penrith in Cumbria, that offers more than just a pint and a packet of crisps. When the local post office was threatened with closure, licensee Mr Jakeman and the family stepped in to keep a vital community service going by moving the post office into the pub’s garage.

The pub is at the heart of the 1,000 strong village community and is one of a handful of local services that includes a farm shop and a hotel. The post office is a lifeline to many residents with many previously travelling up to 6 miles to collect parcels, pensions and a much needed social outing.

The new centrally located post office has been so convenient that it has created the need for a grocery shop alongside it, selling newspapers, confectionery, stationery and a small range of locally sourced products including bacon, milk, eggs and logs and kindling for wood fires.

Richard Jakeman, Kings Arms Licensee said:

“Since taking over the Kings Arms we quickly understood its importance to the community, not only for employment but for social means. When the post office was faced with closure it seemed the natural place to keep it in a central location at the heart of the community. Since taking on the project, my family has never looked back, the combined services provide a service to the community a focal point for them to meet, pass on any information and keep an eye out for the vulnerable. Since the opening of the post office, it has strengthened the community and created a need for a shop alongside the pub.

“During tough winter months when the community can be isolated, our pub business has helped keep the community functioning. It also provides a much need service to the elderly and immobile for whom it is a vital lifeline.”

Bob Neill said:

“Pubs are a great British institution so we should all raise a glass to British Pubs Week. Since they emerged from Roman Taverns and Anglo-Saxon alehouses, pubs have been at the social heartbeat of life in our towns and villages.

“As minister with a responsibility for community pubs I am determined to protect the valuable role pubs play in local society. That’s why we will give landlord the power to take over local services threatened with closure or residents the power to preserve their pub in our Localism Bill. Already there are great examples of pubs across the country being innovative to survive. This is an industry alive with creativity and I’m keen to hear more from publicans over the coming months about what the government can do to protect the local pub.”

Published 4 November 2010