A much-loved traditional pub faces possible closure next month unless £30,000 can be raised to see it through the winter.

The Kings Arms in Strete dates back almost 200 years and has been at the heart of village life.

The committee of the Kings Arms Community Pub (SCPL) sent out an e-mail outlining the worrying position the pub finds itself in and since then others have asked if they can help.

In an open letter the committee said: ‘We are asking for your help. We don’t like to but after Covid, the hospitality staffing crisis and the interest rate bombshell last year, this July and August have been some of the wettest on record. These are the months when we build up a cash reserve to get us through the winters that are always quieter and loss making in these parts.

If it were not for these unusual events we might have built up a reserve in advance but this has not happened and we are left with no option but to seek help or close.

Shareholders were asked first and have already pledged a significant amount but we need to keep going.’

The letter goes on to say that if everyone who follows the pub donated £30 it woukld be saved and that donations of £50 or multiples of this can be converted to shares on request.

Committee Member Andy Edwards said: ‘’The pub is essential in a village with very little else in terms of a place where people can get together, meet and get to know each other.

‘’It would be awful if it disappeared.

‘’I’ve got young children and I hate to think that there would be no social place for them to meet.’’

The Kings Arms has been a community run pub since October 2020 with an initial shareholder investment of just under £80,000. 

There have been constant improvements in performance with revenue growing each year, measurable improved operational efficiency and smaller losses each year. But as they approach the quieter months after summer there is not enough cash in the bank to get through the winter months.

After much debate and examination of the financial trends in the business, the committee believes that the Kings Arms can become profitable with some changes to the operating model.

Visit Devon estimate a fall in visitor numbers of 16 to 20 per cent.

The committee’s proposal is to secure an experienced, full time, paid manager who will be responsible for developing

the business and achieving sustainability. This would be paid for within current budgets and will not require additional funding, largely because they will replace the hours of paid staff, whilst also reducing costs.

An Extraordinary Special Meeting will be held tomorrow (Friday September 15) and the committee is expected to come to a decision by Friday September 22.

If you would like to help to save the pub contact: [email protected]