Saving the Gardeners
The Gardeners Rest looked set to be put on the open market after the owners announced their intention to sell up for a quieter life . However, when pub regulars heard of this, they formed a working committee to investigate the prospect of community purchase.
They quickly formed a Community Benefit Society, The Gardeners Rest Community Society Ltd, and rose over £236,000 through a community share offer. Over 400 people invested between £100 and £5,000 to ensure the future of The Gardeners Rest.
A 'vision' for the future
The society had a vision to preserve the unique character of the pub and for it to act as a hub for the many communities of interest that it supports. They wanted the pub to remain a venue of choice for the delivery of many valued services such as a music venue, activity centre, art and exhibition space for local artists and so much more! Visit Gardeners Rest Events
In addition, there was a desire to; create a kitchen to prepare and provide sensibly priced food, renovate the extensive space above the pub providing accommodation, provide employment opportunities for those who are disadvantaged in the labour market and open up the pub space during the day for meetings and community groups.
The Gardeners Rest is a rare place where people can come on their own and find safe company. It would be hard for many of the regulars - many of them arriving by public transport - to find such an inclusive place anywhere else.
Uniquely, the pub works with 'Yes 2 Ventures' to offer employment and training for people with learning disabilities, autism and mental health disorders; people who may never meet the person specification for a conventional job, but are desperate to play a part in the world of work. Flexible short work shifts (2-3 hours) are tailored to individual needs and people given employment in food preparation, cleaning and bar work. The Gardeners Rest wish to provide accredited training as well.
The pub also hosts self-expression groups, with interests ranging from art, sport, local history and faith groups.