Firstly, a massive thanks goes out to everyone who has helped in whatever way to achieve what we have today. From skilled professionals to unskilled novices, the grants team to the tea makers, from painters to plasterers, what we have today would not have been possible without your involvement. THANK YOU !
As the project progresses, we will need your support so please look out for the next phases of work required and if you can join in in any way, please do.
Ever since we exchanged contracts and completed the purchase of The Dog Inn in September 2015, the refurbishment of the building has always been at the top of the list. With 4 distinct phases – the pub, community rooms, restaurant area and community gardens, the project was going to be a long term plan.
Even before we took ownership, the management committee invested in a professional full building condition survey to identify areas needing refurbishment, in what priority and at what approximate cost. That survey proved invaluable in enabling the grants team to make several applications, most of which have been successful.
Even before we opened in November 2015 and in the midst of all the chaos, we successfully held a Macmillan Coffee Morning, raising nearly £400.
In addition to a new look, we also wanted new branding, and thanks to our marketing team and after consultation with the community, a new brand was developed which now appears on the signage, this website, Facebook and Twitter pages and stationary.
The initial consultations with the community highlighted a need for a coffee shop and basic provisions shop. A place for groups to meet during the day over a coffee and cake and a place to buy those essential but often forgotten daily items like milk, eggs, bread and emergency teas. It was also important that where possible, during winter when its not been unknown for Belthorn to be completely cut off from the outside world, that daily provisions could be available locally.
An area was identified wiyhin the original pub layout which would ideally suit a coffee shop and so conversion began, new shelving, counter tops, electricity supplies, lighting, water supplies etc. With thick walls, no drainage and no dedicated utilities, this was a large task but with the help of Pub is the Hub, our goal was achieved.
It was important to get the pub side up and running as soon as possible and that was achieved in November 2015
To those people involved directly in the pub refurbishment, the improvement is incredible, but for those visiting for the 1st time, we welcome you with a new ceiling (now properly insulated), improved lighting, clean internal stone work, refurbished bar, exposed beams, a brand new coffee shop area and a cosy wood burner over which Patrick is able to retake his rightful place overlooking the brand new soft furnishings. The fire alarm system has been completely renewed and a new CCTV system installed. We are proud to be able to offer monthly open mic sessions, live bands, craft and chat, a comfortable coffee shop serving a wide rage of teas and coffees and small basic provisions shop.
The initial consultations with the community identified a need for community rooms on the 1st floor which had historically been used for living accommodation. The requests were many and varied, eg kids zone, church services, storage, library, meeting and conference rooms. This in turn meant that the bathroom and kitchen also needed a full refurbishment.
The first task was to apply for change of use from both Hyndburn and Blackburn with Darwen Councils….yes the Dog Inn straddles both boroughs. This was achieved unopposed in January 2016 meaning we could start hitting walls again. The main room is now finished, and work on the other rooms is continuing.
Converting a restaurant from a workshop back into a restaurant can be seen as a daunting task, however this challenge has been taken on whole heartedly. We have created a fresh new contemporary look that takes full advantage of the spectacular views to the south and west. The original false ceiling has been removed together with the stone wall partitioning the upper and lower levels, giving the room a more airy feel.
With just under 2 acres of land at the rear of the pub, the community consultation identified the need for community gardens, a beer garden, grazing areas as well as an area for community activities such as the traditional bonfire. The slope on the land needed to be levelled somewhat and with the help of local farmers with some heavy metal, this task has started. We have also already planted in excess of 400 hedge plants which should provide some shelter in the years to come.