Prince of Peckham landlord reveals ambitions for city-wide expansion
Clement Ogbonnaya, the landlord of London's Prince of Peckham pub, has announced plans to expand under his newly launched pub group, the Village People.
With a goal of opening five new locations over five years, the group intends to acquire old and disused pubs, and regenerate them into "stylish, welcoming and inclusive multi-functional community hubs".
Ogbonnaya was raised in Peckham and opened his first pub five years ago. A key focus of the group will be to educate its staff, customers and the wider community on local issues and challenges, as well as highlighting ways to make a positive difference.
Ogbonnaya has already completed the purchase of his second location. Set to open towards the end of the year, Queen of the South will be located in Tulse Hill and will have spaces for co-working and community meet-ups during the day and live events at night, as well as a games room and karaoke booth.
Ogbonnaya said: "I've worked in hospitality for 13 years and I've seen how the industry has changed throughout this time, both for the better and for the worse. While people are searching for a sense of belonging and community now more than ever, many British boozers have gone from being area hubs to laying empty and derelict, which is a tragedy. I think there's a massive opportunity to rejuvenate the pub scene and bring them back to the heart of the community.
"Through Prince of Peckham and my new pub, Queen of the South, the Village People pub group will focus on hospitality over service. I'm excited to bring this ethos to my second pub in Tulse Hill – it's an area with lots of promise and we've had a warm welcome from the locals we've already connected with."
The launch of the group has also seen the appointment of a community manager, Eva Arnaiz. Formerly the head of inclusion and social impact at the Breakfast Club, Arnaiz has been tasked with developing the community outreach programme, which will see the pub group support other local businesses through event space, special collaborations and grants.
Arnaiz said: "I've always been committed to delivering collaborative and innovative approaches to community outreach, and I can't wait to bring this expertise to the Village People. The work Clement and the team have achieved over the past five years is amazing – Prince of Peckham is truly a beacon of the community, so I'm excited to work with and help bring together more communities around London."