Last night I attended a talk at the Ivy House in Nunhead, the first cooperatively owned pub in London and the first pub in the UK to be listed an Asset of Community Value. The talk took place in a lovely dining room fitted out with the original 1930s decor and the Ivy House certainly lived up to its community values - we could hear a children's play going on next door!

The pub's journey towards community ownership was a fascinating and fast-paced, year-long campaign. After local drinkers gathered email addresses in the face of imminent closure, Southwark Council accepted it as an Asset of Community Value a few days before the pub was due to be auctioned. Amazingly, 371 local shareholders raised £142,600 to acquire it in just over a month. Now the pub is a thriving community hub with events such as the children's play, weddings and an affordable pint for under £3! Locals can still always access the bar, however, since the only time the front space was closed was for the filming of Tom Hardy's 'Legend'.  

The campaign to save the Ivy House was in largely uncharted territory, using new legislation, and so the support they received from organisations such as Locality, the Architectural Heritage Fund and the Plunkett Foundation was invaluable. Renaisi is evaluating Plunkett's More than a Pub Programme, co-funded by Power to Change and DCLG, which provides a package of advice and monetary support to community groups seeking ownership of pubs. I'm really looking forward to seeing the journeys of other pubs through this project, as well as the opportunity for more pub visits!