Operating partner appointed for The Fellowship Inn

Updated: 11 February 2016 at 09:43am

Our multi-million pound plans to restore the Fellowship Inn are a step closer, now that we have appointed an operating partner to run the venue once the restoration is complete.

The Laine Pub Company will manage the Fellowship Inn in Bellingham following the extensive restoration works, which are due to be completed in 2017.

The appointment follows our public consultation in 2015, which attracted over 1,400 responses and a tender process. The consultation encouraged residents to have their say on proposals for the building and helped to shape and formalise Phoenix’s plans to restore the 1920s pub.

We will work with Laine's as the restoration of the pub continues, which is part-funded by a Heritage Enterprise grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund. The new Fellowship Inn will include the restored pub and the creation of:

  • a cinema
  • a theatre / comedy venue
  • a music hub with rehearsal spaces
  • a coffee shop
  • a micro brewery. 

The building will also deliver a range of social and community benefits, in support of Phoenix’s broader vision for the pub to create opportunities for local people, deliver cultural experiences and support the regeneration of the area.  These projects will include apprenticeships, work experience placements and job opportunities for local residents.

Laine’s, an operator of an estate of 47 pubs in London and Brighton, has experience of managing large, multi-functional venues. These include pubs that are also home to theatres, comedy clubs, music venues, art galleries, microbreweries and even a circus. 

Phoenix Chief Executive, Jim Ripley, said: “We’re very excited by the potential of the Fellowship Inn to become a landmark building and a thriving venue in our area. Once the restoration of the pub’s complete we’ll be handing over the keys to our operating partner, and  we know they’ll be absolutely critical to the success of the project.

“We’re delighted to have appointed Laine’s. They bring with them significant experience and commercial expertise, but most importantly, share our ethos and community-focused vision for the pub. We’re really looking forward to starting work on the building and to working with Laine’s to create a venue that everyone can enjoy.”

Laine’s Chief Executive, Gavin George said: “In Phoenix we were pleased to find a landlord whose cultural and community objectives mirrored those that have been fundamental to our success since our first pub in 1996.  We bring 20 years of commercial expertise in pub management to the project and are excited and grateful to be involved with Phoenix and to take custodianship of this gem of a pub.”

Phoenix and Laine’s will now work together with Thomas Ford Architects who were appointed in December 2015 to develop plans for the restoration of the building before a second stage bid to secure the funding is submitted to the Heritage Lottery Fund later this year. While most of the building is in disrepair, the existing pub remains open to the public and will continue to operate until the building works begin.

We are currently looking for arts and cultural partners to deliver a number of community heritage projects, which will include a tapestry, performance project and oral history project.