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Coffee and cakes help put Spixworth pub at heart of community

PUBLISHED: 16:44 31 December 2010 | UPDATED: 17:53 31 December 2010

Business partners Dave Whiting, left, and Eric Donnelly of the Longe Arms pub, Spixworth are offering  tea and coffee mornings at the pub.

Business partners Dave Whiting, left, and Eric Donnelly of the Longe Arms pub, Spixworth are offering tea and coffee mornings at the pub.

Archant Norfolk 2010

A pub on the outskirts of Norwich, saved by two locals earlier this year, is responding to requests to make it more accessible to the community.

The Longe Arms, in Spixworth, is reaching out to people who do not normally go to the pub after receiving positive feedback since being given a new lease of life.

The Crostwick Lane-based pub has been serving coffee and cakes over the past few weeks and will be opening from 10.30am from January 10 so villagers can enjoy morning teas.

The pub, which currently opens at noon, was saved from closure earlier this year by locals Dave Whiting and Eric Donnelly, who stepped in after owners Enterprise Inns could not find anyone interested in taking on the lease.

Since they took over in the summer, the pair have embarked on a major refurbishment programme, which has seen the pub transformed inside and out.

The changes have been welcomed by locals and the wider community who are at the heart of all the decisions made about the pub.

Mr Whiting said they had decided to trial the earlier opening to be able to put on morning teas, cakes and coffee because it allowed them to serve the community in another way.

He said: “The whole idea was that it would bring in a totally different group of people who hadn’t used the pub before. The whole thing is geared around the day-time trade – the people who are in the village during the day are predominately those that are retired and the mothers who are around. It’s trying to give a facility to them so they’ve got somewhere to go and meet and talk to each other.”

The pub has received positive feedback from the community both in Spixworth and a little further a field since making the decision. Mr Whiting added: “We had a gentleman in from Old Catton and he said him and his friends were going to start coming here because their own local has stopped trading until 3pm.

“It’s not just Spixworth, but the surrounding areas are starting to hear about it and it’s for them too.”

More than 150 people, including young children and families, recently attended a beer and carols night at the pub, which was led by the Rev Andrew Beane and featured members of the choir at the village’s St Peters Church.

The event, which raised £100 for charity, was described as a “huge success” by Mr Whiting who said he was delighted with the way the community has welcomed what they had tried to do at the pub.

The initiatives being carried out at the Longe Arms fit in with the Evening News’s Love Your Local campaign, which is urging people to support local pubs.

Have you got a story for the campaign? Call reporter Peter Walsh on 01603 772436 or email peter.walsh@archant.co.uk

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