CENTRAL Devon MP and Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Mel Stride has leant his support to residents in and around Drewsteignton who are launching a crowdfunding campaign to buy their local pub.

Ahead of the launch of their crowdfunding appeal, Mr Stride visited the pub to meet with members of the steering group and discuss the next steps.

The Drewe Arms closed last year and the freehold has been put up for sale.

A local steering group has been active in putting together a business plan to buy the pub and hope to turn it into a real community hub, serving as a venue for music, film and arts events, exercise classes and weddings. 

Speaking after his visit Mr Stride said: “The Drewe Arms is a historic pub and it would be great to see it run by the community for the community here in Drewsteignton.

“It is important that we retain our remaining rural services and facilities – they are part the heartbeat of their communities, vital to the local economy and without them there is a greater risk of residents in rural areas becoming even more isolated. I will support the campaign in any way I can.”

Local resident Jane Martin, who serves on the steering group, added: “We are delighted that Mel was keen to come and meet members of the steering group, to hear all about our fundraising drive and to offer his support.

“The Drewe is such a special pub and it is clear from the immediate response from the community that our plans are definitely achievable.”

Anyone interested supporting the crowdfunding appeal and buying shares in the pub can email the team at: [email protected] or find out more by visiting the website: Drewearms.org  or through the Facebook page: The Drewe Arms Community Pub .

The crowdfunding appeal launches on Friday, September 29.