Happy people stand outside a pub holding the European Regional Development Fund logo plaque

Putting your Hart into it

Published : 02/09/21 | Categories: News |

As time runs out to apply for the Social Business Growth Fund The White Hart Community Inn Ltd show how the fund helped save a much loved community pub from closure.


The White Hart Inn in St Dogmaels closed in 2019 after 250 years and was the last traditional pub in the area. Facing a lack of available community spaces, residents got together to form the ‘Save the Hart’ campaign in an effort to rescue the pub and re-open it for the community.

Under guidance from the Wales Co-Operative Centre, they formed a Community Benefit Society, which allowed them to raise funds through a community share offer by letting people purchase shares in the venture.


This came alongside Social Business Growth Fund (SBGF) funding as well as a grant from Pembrokeshire County Council, resulting in a project that fully embodied the cultivation of a community spirit, a community that expanded over the globe as news got out.

The community came together quickly and decisively around the Inn, caretake Chairperson Julie Owen explained.

‘We were shocked when the owners announced its closure, so someone called a public meeting and 200 people turned up! A second public meeting followed and even more came – by the end of that meeting a committee had been formed and we were on our way.’

‘We’re now doing some major refurbishment and have just advertised for a manager. We hope to open the doors in early Autumn and it will be a community pub and hub for the whole village.’


The value of hubs like the White Hart Inn as we start to come out of the pandemic is clear – lockdown has thrown into stark relief the importance of community and the relationships they foster. Over the course of the pandemic, Wales has seen groups of people come together, often around focal points like pubs, sports clubs and community centres as we’ve all sought to be there for one another.

Julie said ‘the two year campaign has been uplifting and exhausting in equal measure, but the support from the village, the wider community, WCVA, Pembrokeshire County Council, Plunkett, the Wales Co-operative Centre and local businesses has spurred us on.’

‘We’ve held many events and have a whole host of volunteers who are more than keen to help, by delivering newsletters, stewarding local events, organising quizzes or manning the local market stall. The future is exciting!’

Now that we’re allowed to gather in greater numbers again, people finally have the chance to see what that sense of belonging and shared values can mean for their day to day lives – and for the people of St Dogmaels, they have the perfect place for it.


There is still EU funding available to support growth and income generation for voluntary organisations in many regions of Wales, but time is running out to apply.

With the end in sight for European Funding in Wales, our Social Investment Cymru team are encouraging voluntary organisations to get in touch to discuss ideas ahead of applying.

If you have an idea to expand your work that would create jobs while helping you increase your social impact, the Social Business Growth Fund could really help you get going.

The Social Business Growth Fund is a mix of grant and repayable assistance that is designed to enable social businesses in Wales to grow and create job opportunities. SBGF is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund and Welsh Government.

To find out more and discuss your ideas please get in contact with the Social Investment Cymru team on 0300 111 0124 or by emailing sic@wcva.cymru. If you’d like to arrange a call at a certain time you can book a one-to-one here. You can also find information on our Social Business Growth Fund page.

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