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Old pub to become net-negative climate centre

Words by Smiley Team

After transforming an area of wasteland into a thriving community garden, East Anglian climate activists have next set their sights on repurposing a nearby pub. 

For nearly three years, The White Horse in Thelnetham, Norfolk has remained abandoned, its beer cellar empty and bar sorrowfully silent. Now activists from iFarm have just managed to purchase the establishment to restore it to serve the community again.

Organiser Julian Thompson tells Smiley News: “Our pub is the beating heart of the village and we’re very excited to gather again, after the pandemic. Apart from the Village Hall, there are no other facilities serving the village – no shop, no post office and the nearest bus stop a two-mile walk away.”

Already they’re making progress. Julian says: “The village has already rallied around to clean and restore the building, ready for opening. As iFarm it’s great to be able to take on such a project and start to deliver benefits that will bring the community together.”

He adds: “The pub is important to me, as I grew up in the next village and spent much time at the local, with my brother.”

‘Imagine a better world’

But the property will become much more than just a social hub. The activists intend to totally repurpose it as a community centre and net-negative microgrid that could provide the entire village as well as neighbouring communities with renewable energy.

With social and environmental benefits, the revamped pub could transform the lives of local people and help them come together to mitigate against climate change.

Julian explains: “As we move forward and face multiple crises together: energy crisis, cost of living, economic shocks, conflict and the climate and ecological emergency, it’s important that we have space to meet and have fun, to celebrate life and enjoy our time together, but also a place where we can focus on and discuss how we build resilience as a community.” 

As global temperatures rise and extreme weather events become more frequent, initiatives like The White Horse will help build more robust communities. 

Julian envisages the pub will become “an exemplar retrofit as iFarm embarks on insulating homes to keep us all warm.” 

He says: “It’s a place for us to share stories and imagine a better world.”

Inspired to act?

DONATE: To help communities elsewhere build hubs like iFarm, donate to Climate Emergency Centres.

GET ACTIVE: Support communities near you by repurposing disused properties. Download the Climate Emergency Centre handbook.


This article aligns with the following UN SDGs

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