For the past 4 years Calor has run the Rural Community Fund, providing funding for community projects in off-grid areas of the U.K. Here we take a look at one of our 2019 winners, Tafarn yr Heliwr (or The Sportsman) pub in Nefyn, Wales to see how they used a grant of £5000 from Calor to bring the much-loved community pub back to life.
Saving a local pub from disrepair
Once a hub for village activities and visitors of Nefyn, the pub was unused for almost a decade following its closure in 2009. Wanting to bring the pub back to life, the Nefyn community sprung into action, securing funding from a community facilities programme to save the pub from any further disrepair. A community share offer also prevented the pub from being bought out and created the opportunity for the people of the village to buy it themselves, bringing it right back into the heart of the community.
Following the purchase of the pub in 2018, plans were put into place to restore it to its former glory, but further funding was needed to help make the pub an attraction on the high street. The aim was to once again make the pub, a central hub for the community to meet and socialise – something that is important in rural areas like Nefyn where loneliness can be a common issue, particularly for the elderly. Spotting an opportunity to fund the next stage of the pub’s regeneration, the community applied for the Calor Rural Community fund in 2019.
Gwenno Rice, Community Development Officer at Tafarn yr Heliwr, explains: “The aim of purchasing the pub was to add value to the community. The pub is on the high street and you could see it was run down. Appearance can go a long way in making it a place the community wants to visit to socialise and get involved in activities.”
Entering the Calor Rural Community Fund
The first stage of the Rural Community Fund process involved setting out the aims of the project to encourage crowdfunding from the public, who can donate towards the worthy causes of Calor’s initiative. Once the projects were shared on the Calor website, every like, share and donation to a project was worth points that accumulated at the end of this stage. The highest scoring projects then went through to the finals where they were scored by a panel of impartial judges.
Tafarn yr Heliwr created their application and went through to the public supporting stage which brought the community together once again. They ended up with over 3,000 engagements – which is more than the population of Nefyn itself!
“An added benefit of applying to the Calor Rural Community Fund is the increased support we were able to receive from the community through crowdfunding.” Gwenno says: “Even if we hadn’t been successful with securing one of the main grants, the additional funds would still have had a big impact on the community with the money raised through the Calor Rural Community Fund crowdfunding stage alone. This was a huge boost for us to get to the finish line. As the news spread of the opportunity, more people got involved and wanted to learn more about our project and follow its progress too, which makes a big difference.”
“Everyone involved in the project are volunteers, so when more people wanted to help, it sped up the process as well as bringing the community closer together.”
How Tafarn yr Heliwr used the grant
Tafarn yr Heliwr was one of 21 applicants to receive the funding from Calor after being chosen by a panel of impartial judges, following the supporting stage.
“It wouldn’t have been possible without the support of Calor, who’s grant funded painting the outside of the pub and updating the lights and signage, as well as purchasing flower posts and a bench. It all helped to brighten up our much loved pub and our high street, giving a welcome boost to the village.” Gwenno explained.
“We were blown away when we found out we were one of the projects to receive £5000 funding from Calor’s Rural Community Fund and began the restoration as soon as possible. We encountered some delays due to the pandemic but now we’re ready to open back up, which is such an exciting prospect considering we started this project back in 2018! The funding from Calor put the finish in sight.”
“We want the pub to go back to being the hub of the village and bring greater economic and social value to the community. We also hope it inspires others to look at what they could do with other similar buildings in the area and help further improve the connectivity of the village. It’s brought everyone closer together, and ultimately that was the aim of this project.”
The whole community came together to support the cause and have built up the project through funding and volunteering. With Tafarn yr Heliwr reopening at the end of July, the community can’t wait to resume the activities they once centred around their beloved pub as they look to go back to normality as restrictions ease.
“We couldn’t have imagined that we would receive the support we did from the public and the Calor grant gave us the extra push we needed to be ready to open back up. I’d recommend applying to the Calor Rural Community Fund if you are working on an underfunded community project, the process creates a lot of momentum around it and helps more people in your area discover it and want to get involved.”
To learn more about the Rural Community Fund and take a look at more previous projects, visit: communityfund.calor.co.uk