Rishi Sunak is first investor in new community pub initiative

Rishi Sunak became the first investor in an ambitious project to buy and renovate the Green Dragon pub at Exelby, near Bedale, as a focus for the community.

A group of villagers plan to combine the revival of the Green Dragon with the provision of affordable housing and the re-establishment of a community shop and café.

Mr Sunak said, "Pubs play a vital role in rural communities and I know from my recent pub survey how transformative community-owned pubs can be.

"I was pleased to be able to assist the trustees in their negotiations to agree a deal for the purchase and I urge local people to get behind the team who have done a tremendous job in getting the project to this stage.”

The share offer has got off to a flying start and Exelby Green Dragon Community Pub Ltd plans to raise around £300,000 by the end of August.

Company secretary and local resident John Walker said, “Anyone can invest in the pub, not just local residents.  Already we have had people investing from as far away as the New Forest.  You can have a stake in our pub for as little as £500.  What could be better than to enjoy a pint or a meal in a pub that you own a little bit of?  This is a chance to own a little piece of Yorkshire and a big part of our community”.

The pub group agreed a price to purchase the closed pub from its current owners, Enterprise Inns, following Mr Sunak's intervention.