Villagers rally to save Scotland’s first community-owned pub from last orders

People United for Banton stepped in to save the Swan Inn to invigorate their dwindling community

Pubs are shutting around the country at a rate of two a day – but one community has defiantly refused to ring the bell on their bar.

The people of Banton in North Lanarkshire received the keys to Scotland’s first community-owned pub on June 22, with plans to turn the Swan Inn into a hub, a café and a restaurant that will open its doors in summer 2019.

After the boozer’s closure, the People United for Banton (PUB) campaign was awarded just over £1 million from the National Lottery, Scottish Land Fund and the European Union to buck the national trend and give their dwindling community a new lease of life. Residents bought the Swan Inn thanks to the funding received from the Scottish Land Fund with the project received a further £738,149 in funding from the National Lottery, while European funding has chipped in a further £115,000.

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To mark their landmark milestone, PUB put on a mini fete with live music.

PUB’s spokesperson Wendy Dunsmore said: “Over the last few years Banton lost its post office, shop, and its only bus service was threatened with removal. The closure of the village pub could have brought an end to the village completely. But we are a strong community and refused to let the village die.

“The community is hopeful that the PUB will turn around the fortunes of Banton and that it can begin to thrive once again.  There is a very strong community spirit in Banton which has enabled us to come this far and the end is almost in sight.

“The whole community has come together to deliver this and we will all benefit when the new and improved PUB finally opens its doors to customers in the summer 2019. The pub will remain open as is until the new year when the extensive renovations will begin.”

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