A COMMUNITY pub could be set to open this summer if a new tenant is found.

The group behind saving The Samson Inn in Gilsland are now thinking about their next steps of opening their beloved pub after gaining funding from the Government to buy it.

The Samson Inn, which was used by the community and tourists alike, closed in October 2022. Not wanting it to sit empty for several years, residents formed a campaign group called Save Our Samson (SOSamson), from which Gilsland Community Benefit Society Limited (GCBSL) created.

The group applied for a  Community Ownership Fund grant earlier this year and they have been awarded £198,658 capital funding and £17,181 revenue funding.

 Jane McDaid, chair of GCBSL said: "It's such fantastic news - so not only do 476  share pledgers and donation supporters believe in us, but the folks at COF do too!

"This is a national scheme, highly competitive and a glance at the list of other successful candidates in the link below shows we are in an esteemed company. 

"87 bids were successful across England, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

"Across the north east and north west there were only five bids successful and we were one of them. We worked really hard in making the business plan and funding bid the best it could be. We are extremely proud.

"The share offer to turn the pledges into money was launched on March 25 at 2.30pm with a target of £140k and closing date of May 4 but so far we have had over £10,000 worth of shares bought and paid for within the first five hours.

"We are also in need of a tenant who will run the business and become part of the Gilsland Village community.

"Please email on samsoninn@gmail.com if this could be you. 

"Once we have the £140k we can draw down the COF money and purchase the building, grant a lease to our tenant and open for business this summer. 

"What a fantastic opportunity for the village and all its businesses and visitors - our supporters have been amazing and by continuing to pull together as a group and community we can get this project over the line."