Woodplumpton pub wins National Heart of the Community Award for second year running

Woodplumpton pub wins National Heart of the Community Award for second year running

The Wheatsheaf on Woodplumpton Road in Woodplumpton has beaten off competition from over 1,100 pubs to win the Heart of the Community award for the second year running in our national awards.

The judges set the bar high saying the case had to be overwhelming for the pub to win twice. After travelling the length and breadth of the UK they crowned the pub again saying it was “hard to envisage a better example of a community pub”.

Licensees Pete Robinson and Ness Wilkinson took over The Wheatsheaf in 2013 transforming it from a rundown, struggling local which villagers were afraid might close to a thriving community hub. They received the prestigious prize in recognition of the important difference The Wheatsheaf makes to Woodplumpton life at a gala celebration night in Liverpool from football legend and broadcaster Chris Kamara.

The judges commended Pete and Ness for not resting on their laurels since their 2015 win and for the improvements they have made to The Wheatsheaf to ensure it is a comfortable, welcoming place for villagers to meet and an attractive feature of Woodplumpton. As well as painting and renovating the pub outside, the pair have redecorated throughout inside, working through the night to minimise disruption to customers, installed new lighting in the games room and added new furniture to the garden.

The judges noted Pete and Ness’ record for supporting Woodplumpton institutions and events from the school and the church to the annual fete. The only business in the village, The Wheatsheaf took over provision of the post office’s services when it closed and Pete and Vanessa are now hoping to house the village’s first defibrillator as well.

The judge’s were also impressed by The Wheatsheaf’s continued record for fundraising for local good causes raising £1600 for Derian House hospice alone. Inspired by the work of one of their regulars helping victims of Chenobyl, the pub has launched a £1000 appeal to bring two affected children on holiday to Woodplumpton next summer.

 “The Wheatsheaf is the gold standard by which community pubs should be measured providing vital services, support and a centre for village life. Pete and Ness are totally dedicated to Woodplumpton and nothing much happens in the village, which doesn’t involve The Wheatsheaf, ” said Lawson Mountstevens, Managing Director for Star Pubs & Bars.

Says Pete, “We gave up a happy life in Yorkshire to take on The Wheatsheaf and have worked tremendously hard to revive it. It’s absolutely brilliant to be recognised; we see it as an award for the whole community who’ve supported us every step of the way. If we get a rush of customers, they jump in to help us on the bar or wash pots in the kitchen and when the cellar flooded this year, one of the regulars had it pumped out within hours!”