Open Arms Kington (OAK) received fantastic news today when they learned that they have been awarded £300,000 towards the purchase and restoration of the Oxford Arms in Kington. The project is one of eight grants just announced by the government’s Community Ownership Fund.
‘This is brilliant news’, says Judith Gardner, an OAK director. ‘The opportunity to build a community hub centred in this well-loved building is a dream come true.’
OAK, a Community Interest Company, plans to build on the current successful pub and B&B businesses, and use profits towards projects that benefit Kington. At the top of the list is the creation of a dedicated space for young people in the community.
“Our plans will help improve Kington’s local economy through creating new jobs, training and volunteering opportunities We will also be investing in and conserving a landmark listed building, which just happens to be my favourite Kington pub!” said Patrick Conrad, another of OAK’s directors.
Over the past 6 months, thanks to grants from the National Lottery Community Fund and the Architectural Heritage Fund, OAK have been carrying out a feasibility study and consulting with the local community on their plans. So far they have received a huge amount of support and positive encouragement from the vast majority of those consulted. As one local resident put it:
“What a brilliant idea. It could benefit such a wide range of people… cinema nights for the family, live music, a youth club. So many great possibilities”