VILLAGERS in Ashendon have united to preserve their 300-year-old pub by securing it as a community asset.

They have received a significant boost to their efforts thanks to a Community Ownership grant of £300,000.

This significant financial support was awarded by the Department for Levelling up, Housing and Communities.

This much-welcome windfall is set to play a crucial role in preserving the Ashendon Pub, known as The Hundred of Ashendon, which closed its doors over a year ago.

The ACPS, a group formed by local residents keen on maintaining the village's favourite haunt, has been putting in sustained efforts to safeguard the pub's future.

The community grant comprises £250,000 towards buying the freehold and £50,000 as a fund for working capital. The society, however, still has a little way to go.

It needs to gather a total of £250,000 this summer to acquire, overhaul, and rehouse the pub.

Ashenden Parish Council said the deficit is to be addressed through a Community Share Offer, which is set to launch in June.

Luke Jamieson, Chair of ACPS, said: "We are thrilled with this result and are enormously grateful to those residents in Ashendon and neighbouring villages who have already pledged a total of £168,000 to buy shares.

"We are still seeking £82,000 in pledges.

"Now that we have won the trust and majority financial backing of the government to make this initiative a success, we hope that even more members of the community and local businesses will come forward to pledge whatever they can so we can meet our target and ensure this window of opportunity does not slip through our fingers."

The ACPS also extended its gratefulness to the Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities, the Plunkett Foundation, ACPS Management Committee members, and all residents and groups of Ashendon and neighbouring villages.

A quaint rural village, Ashendon is barebone in terms of connectivity or interaction.

A lack of shops, cafes, or a school and a limited bus service has left the community reliant on the pub.

The communal disconnect is felt even in the neighbouring villages of Westcott, Winchendon, Wotton Underwood, Chilton or Dorton in north Buckinghamshire.

Their primary objectives for the community pub are to preserve the pub as the social epicentre of the community and provide a space for social interaction.

Additionally, they intend to offer local food and drink, generate a small measure of local employment, encourage community involvement, support local businesses and sustainability, and attract a wider community.

The Ashendon Community Pub Society is now looking forward to a renewed future in which the Ashendon pub remains the vibrant centre of the community.