Thanks to funding from The National Lottery Community Fund, The Chequer Inn community pub in Ash has been awarded £10,000 to improve access.

Chair Jon Scatchard says “This project has re-energised social relationships and brought people together to save this prominent central facility, which has been lost for several years. The space now needs improvement to enable access to the Pub from across the community. Currently some areas of the Pub are accessible by those with mobility problems, for example the garden, but those with disabilities are known to avoid venues like ours with poor access and inadequate facilities. Now, as a community owned Pub, we are determined to provide a welcoming, inclusive approach to the building, inside and out to enable access by the whole community to the range of activities planned. The success of the project depends on community inclusion.”

The grant will allow provision of a disability unisex toilet in the Chequer Inn, as the existing male and female facilities do not achieve satisfactory spaces for wheelchair access. The location of the proposed new W.C. is beneath the existing shallow roof of the modern walkway.

Secretary Jane Greaves says “This proposal compliments other disability access projects within the building, which have been coordinated by our volunteers and members, for example; widened opening to the dining area, readjustment of internal steps, and the planned widened door access and ramp from the parking area. Property maintenance was limited by previous owners / pub companies and WC facilities had not been upgraded to an acceptable standard. Disabled access and facilities such as this new WC have been considered as a priority for our refurbishment, to give a clear message to the community – that we take their needs seriously and we wish to make the pub facilities accessible to all. We have successfully been granted Listed Building consent and Council planning permission, having worked closely with the Heritage Officer and volunteer architect, who is a Society member.”

The pub is hoping to relaunch in the summer.