Community groups in Irthington make the most of their newly reopened local

Shaun Gardner and Jimmy Little
The Sally
Shaun Gardner and Jimmy Little

SOCIAL clubs and organisations have created a hive of activity at a newly-reopened Victorian coaching house.

The Sally, at Irthington, near Brampton, opened just before Christmas and is already turning into a vital community hub.

It has a ladies' darts team and men's football team, while social activities groups are also making use of the pub - and the village book club is set to return.

Joint owner Shaun Gardner said: “I think there’s been a lot of pent-up demand because the pub was closed for 18 months.

“It’s really great that all kinds of organisations and clubs want to come here, that they recognise we offer something to the wider community.

“If we can do things for people other than provide food and drinks then we are only too pleased to do so."

It has received praise from Pub is The Hub, a national campaign to encourage pubs to be at the centre of community life by providing essential services beyond the usual drinks, food or entertainment.

John Longden, chief executive for Pub is The Hub, was pleased to see The Sally maximising its appeal and services.

“We always applaud good licensees who are working hard to engage with their local communities - particularly when it comes to providing additional services or activities,” he said.

“This helps to sustain the long-term viability of the pub as well as restoring essential community facilities.”

Villager Emma Skelton, who chaired the local campaign to have the pub re-opened and run in a way that benefited the community, agreed.

“It’s now a fantastic contemporary venue with great food, drinks and a lovely warm ambiance for community groups to use,” she said.

Shaun and his business partner Jimmy Little spent £150,000 on a full refurbishment of the pub, which involved moving the bar, re-decorating and new floors and carpets.

Now they are working to complete their accommodation offering of six en-suite rooms.

Shaun added: “We’re working round-the- clock to finish before the main holiday season gets underway.

“Overnight visitors, including those using nearby Carlisle Airport and relatives of people in the village, will certainly help The Sally to succeed where perhaps other local pubs have failed."

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