A CAMPAIGN has launched in Ashton to save ‘lifeline’ pub The Station from the threat of closure after they were hit with a large music licensing bill.

The ‘vital’ Station pub helps vulnerable people in Tameside alongside hosting fundraising events yet needs to raise £5,000 for the bill or they might have to shut their doors for good.

The campaign to save the pub, launched by a not-for-profit community organisation Infinity Initiatives, has raised over £2,000 with help from members of the local community.

A JustGiving page has also been set up to raise an additional £1,500 for the pub.

The pub is hailed as a ‘centre hub for the homeless in the Tameside area’ and residents praised landlady Pauline Town for being an ‘inspiration’ and a ‘lifeline’ by using her pub to help vulnerable people living in Tameside.

A friend has since offered to stepped in and pay the bill to allow Pauline Town time to fundraise to pay the money back.

Gemma Clayton, 35, Director of Infinity Initiatives, said: “I run Infinity Initiatives and we work really closely with members of the community but nobody as much as Pauline. She’s so involved, she’s not just there providing food, she’s really knowledgeable about the benefit system and housing.

“She’s really like a go-to for so many people because they feel so comfortable in the pub, that kind of environment is really inviting for people so we started doing our drop ins there as well and advice surgeries.

“If she does lose the Station it will affect so many people so we’re really trying hard to help her fundraise and help her to get some money to pay it.” – Gemma Clayton, Infinity Initiatives

“She finds that really difficult because she thinks all that money could be going to people who need rehousing. So it is through gritted teeth but we are just trying to get it paid and then draw a line under it and move on.”

Often resembling ‘a storage depot’ the pub aims to help people who are experiencing homelessness, struggling with debt, or struggling to cope with mental health issues in Tameside.

Landlady of the pub, Pauline Town, 48, said: “I tend to get a lot of people knocking on the door looking for help. A lot of the time it is about benefit assistance or in need debt advice so we hold a drop in as well every week for Infinity. We also have a creative writing group for people suffering from depression, learning difficulties or mental health issues, and this is about working barriers down.

“So along with all the fundraising we do this place is kind of home for a lot of people who have no where else to go. We are an anti-hate crime reporting centre as we’re trying to bring the communities in Ashton together, so the work never really stops!”

The pub is the ‘beating heart’ of We Shall Overcome in Tameside, a social movement of people and musicians against austerity cuts launched in reaction to the general election in 2015, and has raised more than £225,000 worth of money, food, clothing and bedding for people hit by austerity in 9 different countries.

A musician from Bolton band The Papashangos who does not want to be named, said: “It was just a pub we played in and it went down well until we got to know Pauline. Pauline runs a pub and also spends 27 (sic) hours a day helping the homeless. As well as raising money she’s personally out there on the streets finding people, giving them food, sorting out accommodation and working as an advocate.”

There are several ‘Save our Station’ fundraising events taking place and you can find out more about the campaign here.

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