After being closed for three years village pub The Black Swan at Little Dunham is set to become a vibrant hub at the heart of the community.
New owners Nicola and Richard Ward bought the disused building just a year ago and on Saturday threw open the doors to welcome villagers into the pub once more.
It was “jam-packed” with enthusiastic visitors keen to find out what was in store, said Nicola, a former venue manager. Husband, Richard, is an ex-groundsman with family connections in the area.
It is a pub with a difference as it also boasts a cafe and book exchange, so people can go along, swap books and games and enjoy a cup of coffee, paninis, cakes and cream teas as well as traditional pub drinks.
Said Nicola: “It is a place which welcomes everyone of all ages, including families, and it is also going to be used as a meeting place for some of the groups in the village. The community has been been very supportive.
“Some customers who came in said that they wouldn’t consider going into a pub on their own, but they felt really comfortable about popping in here for a cup of coffee. The cafe is just as popular in the evening as the usual bar service. Our coffee machine is always on.”
Rural pub champions, Pub is The Hub has backed the Black Swan and part-funded the cost of the cafe and book exchange with a £4,000 grant from its community services fund. Terry Stork, of Pub is The Hub, said: “With the incredible hard work and commitment that Nicola and Richard have already invested, I’m confident that these new facilities will benefit the whole community and make the pub more sustainable.”
The Black Swan is open from 11am to 2pm and 5pm to 11pm from Wednesday to Sunday, and closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.