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ABOUT US

Ryton Cross Community Society was established in 2018 in order to allow the local community of Ryton to buy and reopen Ye Olde Cross as a community pub on the Village Green at the heart of Ryton. 

We raised money by selling community shares and were successful in buying the building, renovating it using volunteers and turning it into a successful community pub.

Why a Community Pub?

There are an increasing number of pubs in the UK that have been taken into community ownership (>95 at the last count). Almost all were failed businesses which were in danger of being lost from the hearts of the communities that they served. All of them are now prospering in a way that they didn't under private ownership. None have since closed. So what is it about a community pub that is so special? 

People

Powered

Supported by the community that own it, through their investment of time, money and skills

More Than A Pub

Supporting a range of activities for the community beyond just the pub

Great Food and Drink

Locally sourced products support businesses in the community

Connecting People

Everything we do aims to bring people together 

Our History

In January 2018, Ye Olde Cross closed it's doors. Long under ownership of EI Group (previously Enterprise Inns), a large pubco, there had been a series of tenants and multiple closures in the preceding couple of years. The business was failing.

In 2018 however, two local residents and regulars at the Cross, Colin Cheesman and Richard Taylor decided that something had to be done to protect the future of their local pub on the Village Green. They sent round flyers to local residents inviting them to attend an open meeting to discuss the future of the pub. More than 120 residents turned up, packing out the church hall. All had a shared experience of the pub and wanted to see it preserved as a pub at the heart of Ryton. 

With support from the Plunkett Foundation, a group of 12 from the community set up a Management Committee and incorporated as a Community Benefit Society, run on Cooperative principles with the aim of buying the Cross, renovating it and reopening it as a community pub. This Society was named Ryton Cross Community Society Ltd. (RCCS)

Over the following 18 months, RCCS relentlessly worked to develop a business plan and raise the necessary money to buy the pub. This was achieved by issuing community shares, allowing residents to invest their money and take part ownership of their local pub. With more than 360 members and £160,000 of community shares sold, RCCS were well on the way to buying the pub. 

The remainder of the money needed came from the successful application to the Plunkett Foundation's More Than A Pub programme, securing a £50,000 grant and a £50,000 loan. The building was bought from EI Group.

Extensive renovation took place, largely using a pool of dedicated volunteers, bringing the pub up to date. Finally, tenants were engaged to run the pub and Ye Olde Cross was able to reopen its doors as a community pub in the summer of 2019.

RCCS has very much subscribed to the ethos of More Than A Pub. As well as creating an exceptional pub, serving great food and drink, the Cross also offers a range of community activities from the pub. This includes,live music (traditional, folk and classical concerts), community cinema, yarn groups, discussion groups, business networking groups, craft fairs, charity events etc. - the list goes on!

 

In December 2019, it was announced that RCCS had won CAMRA's Pub Savers Award for the year as a shining example of a community saving a local pub from closure. This achievement is shared by every single person in our community who has contributed to the pub, as an investor, a volunteer or a customer. 

Our Village

Our Pub

#Our Ye Olde Cross

Our Vision

Our vision is to buy and re-open the historic Ye Olde Cross Inn in Ryton Village by setting up the first community-owned pub in Ryton and the Tyne Valley. 

We aim to create a pub owned by the community, run for the benefit of that community. It will be welcoming, serve food and drink, host a range of events and provide useful services to the people in the local area, as well as supporting other pubs and businesses in Ryton.

It must be more than simply a traditional public house

It must have a positive impact on the community, facilitate people to have a role and a say as well as make a difference to customers and the community.

crowd scene of christmas by candelight pub aftershow
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