Snowdon villagers save their pub
An inspiring story of community spirit to reopen a hotel in the Snowdonia National Park has been broadcast for the world to see on YouTube.
In January 2009, the Pengwern Arms Hotel, a 200-year-old inn that stands on the village green in Llan Ffestiniog, near Blaenau Ffestiniog, closed its doors for the last time. It was the last one of four pubs in the village to close down.
Now villagers are preparing to reopen the doors in May after a massive community effort, which has been supported by the Welsh Assembly Government,the Wales Cooperative Centre and Gwynedd Council.
Internet users can follow the latest chapter of the story on YouTube. The Pengwern Arms will also feature in a documentary called ‘Calling Time’, which will be broadcast later this year.
The villagers have set up Pengwern Cymunedol Cyf. Cymdeithas, a co-operative incorporated as an Industrial Provident Society. With the help of a Welsh AssemblyGovernment regeneration grant, which has been channelled through housing association Cymdeithas Tai Eryri, the hotel was bought for £185,000 . In addition, the co-op raised working capital by selling 300 shares at £100 each to local people, who now have a stake in the hotel.
The committee in charge of the project comprises 24 local people and another 100 people have volunteered to help with work on the hotel, which is due to reopen early next month. Gwynedd Council is supporting the community venture with a grant to appoint a project manager and the co-op hopes to run the bar with volunteers initially before later employing a manager.
Semi-retired university lecturer Sel Williams, a director of the co-op, said: “We are very fortunate to have a really good group of people involved in this project and the Welsh Assembly has been very supportive.
“Between us we have a lot of skills and we all feel a tremendous responsibility to make this project succeed. Community involvement may be the way forward for so manythings in the future. We may all have to do more for ourselves.
“There has been a pub on the site of the Pengwern for nearly 300 years. It used to be an important location for the drovers as it was used as a place to shoe the animals before crossing the Migneint. “It was originally called ‘Yr Efail’ (The Smithy) but was changed to The Pengwern Arms Hotel sometime in the 19th century.”