What you see here is the culmination of many people's hard work and years worth of villager's desire. While Malvern is seen as a single town, in reality it is made up of lots of separate parts, Great Malvern, North Malvern, Malvern Link, Barnards Green, Malvern Wells and West Malvern. While all the others seamlessly merge into one, West Malvern is often referred to as a village due to it being wrapped around the back (West) side of the Malvern Hills, only joined to the rest of the Malvern conurbation by a narrow sliver of houses.
Over the years the village was home to butchers, bakers and general stores to name but a few, but more importantly to village life, pubs. Unfortunately over time most of these businesses have closed with The Lamb pub closing some 10 years ago leaving The Brewer's Arms as the village's final pub. Unfortunately, during recent times support for the pub dwindled with new tenants moving through at quite a pace and then the global pandemic. It wasn't the village didn't want the pub anymore, it was more the pub that was there wasn't what the village wanted.
Now let's fast-forward to the autumn of 2021. Admiral Taverns contacted a West Malvern community group about the possibility of buying The Brewer's Arms. You see, this wasn't the first time the idea had been raised about taking the pub into community ownership. A few years before, a group was started that had contacted Admiral Taverns with the idea of buying the pub, but the offer was turned down. The question was now, was there still interesting in the village to buy the pub?
Word was sent out and a number of meetings were held to gauge was there still interest, what sort of pub did people want and how much money were people able to put up. It soon became apparent that there was interest, and it should be possible to raise the money required. The price for a single share was set at £250 and before the deadline set by Admiral Taverns over £400,000 was raised. It was enough to purchase the pub and freshen the place up before re-opening. But money wasn't the only thing that was needed!
On Tuesday 27th September 2022 the pub was in the hands of the community and a goal of re-opening before Christmas was set. This was where the community really came together. While The Brewers Arms wasn't a complete mess, it definitely was in the category of tired. A request was made for help to first to clean and remove rubbish before requests to help sand, paint, varnish, tidy an overgrown garden and numerous other task were made. It was a massive project and was definitely the embodiment of the phrase "many hands make light work". While all this volunteer work was ongoing local trades people or those with connections to the village were employed, for example, to sort out the wiring, create new pub signage and get all the pipework ready to serve beer again.
The panorama you see above was taken just before the official opening, when volunteers were being shown how to pull pints and operate the till. The final goal is to get tenants in to run the pub for the community, but until they are found, over 50 members of the community stepped forward to pull pints. Two days later the pub re-opened to great fanfare, the local BBC news crew were there to film the event and see the local vicar, bless the beer, bless the pub and pull a pint or two (yes she's a volunteer too!).
Finally, I'm sitting here writing this just before the new year and I can report that the pub is the hub of the village once again. Life has been brought back to the bricks and mortar of the building through the sounds of pints being served, discussions being had and laughter being made.
Brewers Community Pub website - https://www.brewerscommunitypub.co.uk
Brewers Arms, West Malvern Facebook page - https://www.facebook.com/BrewersArmsWestMalvern
Local BBC News covering the reopening - https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-hereford-worcester-63919969