Villagers receive keys to The Swan Inn

People United for Banton celebrate taking over The Swan Inn. Pic: Michael Gillen
People United for Banton celebrate taking over The Swan Inn. Pic: Michael Gillen

The villagers of Banton have come one step closer to opening Scotland’s first community owned pub when they were handed the keys to The Swan Inn on Friday.

The People United for Banton (PUB) campaign has been awarded a total of just over £1 million from the National Lottery, Scottish Land Fund and the European Union with extension renovations to start next year.

The campaign has already become a hub for the community and excitement around the opportunities the pub will bring to the community is building for local residents.

Not only has this been realised with numerous local activities, there has been close to £10,000 raised with donations coming from as far as America and Canada.

PUB’s spokeswoman 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.

“This will not only be a cafe, restaurant, shop and of course a pub, it will be a community hub providing Banton’s residents with a beating heart again.

“The hand-over of the keys on Friday was a cause for celebration which is particularly poignant when the rest of the UK is celebrating the Great Get Together which is all about bringing communities together.”

The villagers came together to mark the day with entertainment taking for all ages including a mini fete, afternoon tea and a live music event.”