Thriving community-run pub celebrates successful beer festival and future plans
Archant Norfolk 2018
A much-loved community-run pub brought back to life by hard working villagers is continuing to thrive.
Over the weekend, hundreds of people flocked to the The Fox Inn, in Garboldisham, to enjoy their three-day beer festival.
Such was its popularity last year, when it was held just six months after the pub reopened, this year’s event was double the size with 40 local ales and ciders available.
Just two years ago, the popular pub was empty and in desperate need of repair having served its last pint nine years previously.
But a dedicated group of individuals backed strongly by the community saw the Garboldisham Fox Community Interest Company given the keys to the Grade-II listed pub in October 2016.
Now open three-days a week, holding regular event nights and festivals, and aided by a volunteer group 60-strong, the Fox Inn is a model to other communities looking to save their village pub.
Eddie Theaker, one of the community group’s directors, said: “The support has been tremendous. We have had so much support from the local community it has been amazing.
“The overriding message we get from people is about the atmosphere. It is a place where people can come, have a drink and have a chat. There is a warm fire in the winter and a warm atmosphere in the summer.”
The long-term plan is to reopen the restaurant at the pub but Ian Skipper, who is also a director, said it may be a few years off.
To enable the pub to offer bar food and to open a cafe to serve teas, coffee and cakes, a mini kitchen is being installed thanks to a £3,000 grant from Pub is The Hub.
“This will enable us now to expand what we can provide to the village,” said Mr Skipper.
The kitchen will be officially opened by MP Elizabeth Truss on Friday, July 27.
As it is also Norfolk Day, after the opening an event to celebrate the county will be held and will include a barbecue, Morris Dancers and Norfolk Ales.
Refurbishment works have also taken place in the garden and on the south gable.
Resident and volunteer Liam Reilly said: “I remember the pub as a vibrant place and it was one of the reasons my wife and I moved here.
“But during the wilderness years when the pub was closed it was pretty dull here and the village lost its heart. I have met more people in this place in the last year we have been coming here then in the last 32 years.”
To become a shareholder, volunteer or for more information visit the Fox Inn website.