PENISTONE is on the brink of a unique community alehouse scheme.
And the town’s post office could be set to deliver the premises crucial to bringing the idea to fruition.
Marc Cooling, the man behind the project, says he is ‘40 per cent there’ in achieving his dream of a community-owned alehouse.
The next step is a stand at Penistone Show where he and his team aim to gauge support.
“We will be clear and bold and bring to life what we are doing,” said Marc, 43, and a bank IT worker.
“Our vision is to bring a community-owned real ale micropub to Penistone, and safeguard the future of the post office
“We want to benefit the Penistone community, which we will do in a number of ways This is a social enterprise not a private/commercial venture.
“The money we make will be reinvested directly back into the Penistone community.
“Project costs will be raised through a community share offer everyone in Penistone will be able to own a part of the business, through buying shares.”
The scheme moved on apace at a meeting earlier this month where the post office was identified as a possible venue.
Marc came up with the idea late last year. Then the idea of a community-owned pub started to take root.
“I thought: how could I do this to benefit the community?’” he said.
“The community puts money into it and it is owned by individuals.
“But we need premises. We can’t bring this to a conclusion until we have somewhere to go.”
If the post office idea came off, the alehouse would take over what used to be the shop.
Marc is backed by Penistone ward councillors Hannah Kitching and Andrew Millner and community worker Karen Senior is also on board.
Marc reckons it could cost £150,000 to £250,000 for purchase, set up and refurbishment.
“We have identified premises which tick all the boxes and now I want to go out with a firm proposal to see if the community wants this or not.”
Coun Kitching said: “It’s a brilliant scheme. Marc and Karen are absolutely passionate about their community. This is a really innovative idea to brighten up the high street, where it’s getting more and more difficult to sustain businesses.
“It is unique. It’s a fantastic community enterprise and I hope the community will get behind it.”
Coun Kitching said that for one person to meet the cost would be overwhelming, but not with collective responsibility.
Karen said: “We need a real traditional alehouse, somewhere down to earth where people can come and feel welcome. We have lost that kind of thing.
“A lot of our young people are involved with this. They want conversation, board games, real ale, vinyl music etc.”
Karen runs the Bumping Spaces project in Penistone and she says users of that service are also interested in the alehouse scheme.
“We want a community space we can use during the day,” she said
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Project hoping to deliver alehouse to the community
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