The incredible story of how a Welsh community rallied to buy and re-open its only pub

Pub up for sale
The Crymych Arms, which was previously up for sale before the community which surrounds it rallied round and bought it -Credit:Media Wales

People from a small Welsh community have held a night of celebration after they came together to raise more than £200,000 to save the only pub in the village. The Crymych Arms, in the village of Crymych, which is situated around eight miles south of Cardigan, had been closed since September, 2021.

Then, it’s long-time owners decided they wanted to retire after running the pub for the best part of 40 years. That meant that, for the first time since at least the mid-1800s, Crymych didn’t have a pub. Just over a year later, a meeting was held to see if there was any local interest in raising enough money to form a ‘community benefit society’ that could not only buy the pub but run it, too. You can read more about the journey here.

By the autumn of 2023 - less than a year after the ambitious idea was first mooted - local people and some from further afield managed to raise more than £220,000. Together with a grant from the UK Government, enough money had been collected and suddenly a dream became a reality. You can get the latest WalesOnline newsletters e-mailed to you directly for free by signing up here.

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“When you lose a pub you lose touch with people,” said Cris Tomos, a local community councillor and one of the driving forces behind the initiative. “A lot of elderly people used to come here for a meal, and that ability to socialise, to sit down and be with other people had been lost. It’s a real issue moving forward (for local pubs in general), both socially and economically. Local pubs and local shops are just not there and I think it’s something that the country in a wider context needs to address. “

People inside pub
Locals celebrate inside the Crymych Arms on Saturday -Credit:Cris Tomos

As well as re-opening the Crymych Arms, part of the plan was making the pub the home of Crymych FC, and the keys were handed over last October, officially marking a fantastic story of success within a small-knit community. The pub re-opened before Christmas and on Saturday a night of celebration was held as many of those who made it all possible gathered to see the unveiling of a new bar and ‘cwtch area’.

“The support from the community has been outstanding with people from near and far supporting the share offer to gather the funds to buy the pub and to re-open it,” added Mr Tomos. “The project team are now asking people to call in and give additional ideas on what activities and social events can be put on. Already, offers are coming in for developing a history club, a walking club and a gardening club to meet at the community venue.”

With the pub now open for business once more, the next phase of the development will see a revamp of the restaurant area. People can still get involved if they want to be a part of a community-led project, and anyone interested is asked to e-mail or call 01239 831435.