With a backdrop of big band music and staff serving customers in vintage dress, the 1940’s afternoon luncheon club at the Brewers Arms in Herstmonceux, is creating a bulldog spirit across East Sussex.

Rebecca Elms took over the pub last October, after working for the past 20 years for the Harvester chain. Boarded up and not in use, the pub, built in 1599, needed a lot of work before it was ready to reopen.

“Taking over the pub and turning it into a successful rural country pub, has been a real adventure” Rebecca says.

The Brewers Arms

The Brewers Arms

Soon after the pub opened, East Sussex County Council asked if Rebecca would like to get involved with Pub is the Hub, an organisation dedicated to offering advice and support to licensees, rural pubs and community services who want to diversify what they offer to customers. Part of this included hosting a mini-library which has been popular with residents who can enjoy reading the books in the pub or borrow them to read at home.

Pub is The Hub

“Pub is The Hub encourages rural pub owners, licensees and local communities to work together. The aim is to support and retain essential local services, which, wherever possible, can be located within the pub itself such as shops and Post Offices and activities for the elderly. At a local level, Pub is The Hub is able to act quickly and looks for innovative ways to ensure rural pubs remain relevant to the needs of their local communities” John Longden OBE, Chief Executive of Pub is The Hub said.

Since opening, Rebecca launched a 1940’s afternoon luncheon club every Wednesday from 12pm to 3pm, with old pub games such as bridge and bingo, nostalgic 1940’s music and an array of delicious meals to eat – with no ration books in sight.

“I get quite a few people visiting who are housebound and it gives them the opportunity to be part of the community, by coming along to one of our regular events. I spoke to a carer the other day, and the lady she looks after had travelled from Uckfield. They both really enjoyed the music and it was a nice trip out for them” Rebecca adds.