More than three
weeks since pubs closed their doors due to the Covid-19 outbreak, many are
continuing to work tirelessly to support their local communities. The help
takes many forms, from offering essential supplies to customers, to preparing
hot meals for local homeless and other vulnerable people, as well as keeping
regulars entertained and connected during isolation with online quizzes, music nights
PubAid co-founder Des O’Flanagan said: “It is humbling to see how many licensees are putting people above profit and doing all they can to help their community, despite facing huge uncertainty themselves.
played a vital role at the heart of their communities for centuries, and during
these difficult times, the support they are providing, particularly to
vulnerable people, is just invaluable.
Let’s hope that one upside of the pandemic is that as many of these
fantastic pubs as possible are able to come through the lockdown and emerge
with the on-going recognition and support of their local communities.”
The Angel & Crownin Richmond is serving hot meals daily to more than 30 local homeless people. The pub, owned by Fuller’s and operated by Nick Botting, is making the meals available from 4-5 pm, seven days a week, to ensure that these most vulnerable members of the community receive one hot meal a day. Dishes are prepared by the pub chef and collected in full compliance with the Government’s social distancing guidelines. Local outreach organisation SPEAR is directing rough sleepers to the service.
Nick Botting said: “We’re pleased to be using our
kitchen and talented chef to help some of the hardest-hit in the community, and
expect demand to grow as word spreads about the service.” Initially, the pub was using food in stock at
lockdown, but is now reliant on donations, which are gratefully received at:https://www.paypal.me/angelforthehomeless
The Sugar Mill in Bourne, Lincolnshire, moved a planned fundraiser online and raised £270. The recently-refurbished pub kept its pledge to support Little Miracles, a charity which supports children with additional needs, and streamed its Disney Quiz via Facebook for customers, mainly families, who donated £1 to take part. Licensee Tom Bellis said: “We were delighted with the response, with more players than we expected, and the money raised will support a fantastic charity.”
The Ram Innin Brundall, Norfolk, has raised £800 for its local hospital, by displaying rainbow art in its windows. The young daughter of a regular started the trend by asking for her ‘rainbow of hope’ to be pinned up, and since then the windows have been filled with more than 80 pictures. Landlord Martin Burrekoven-Kalve said: “The pub is donating a pound for each rainbow, and local customers and groups have also pitched in. It’s such a cheering sight in these difficult times, people are stopping to take photos when out for their exercise.” All money is going to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
Surbiton pub The Antelope is cooking 200 hot meals a day, which are distributed to local vulnerable people. The initiative is being run with local charity Voices of Hope, which is co-ordinating the service. James Morgan, co-owner of Big Smoke Brew Co, which runs The Antelope, said: “We are lucky to have the facilities to support people locally during these difficult times. We’re making healthy meals for the elderly, low income, homeless and isolated, and with 30,000 vulnerable people in the Kingston area, demand will only increase as lockdown continues.”
A furloughed Stonegate general
manager has turned his hand to making Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for
healthcare workers. Cee-Jay Williams, GM
at The Junction Tap in Woking, and his friend Tim Charlesworth, are using 3D
printers to make face mask clips after they were inspired by the story of a
group in Italy who were adapting diving masks into protective gear. Cee-Jay
said: “We read online that the NHS had plenty of visors, but not enough clips
for staff to use them. After a bit of trial and error, we’ve mastered the
technique to print them, so we should be able to make a lot more clips – and
fast. I hope we can make a difference for our amazing NHS workers and help them
do their incredible work.”
The Gerard Arms in St Helens held a Facebook Live Festival earlier this month in aid of local Willowbrook Hospice and raised £513. Four live acts performed over four hours on the Saturday evening, with a further gig on the Sunday by regular favourite Olivia Parr. General manager at the Greene King pub, Mark Hayes said: “We were furloughed on the Monday after the Festival, so unfortunately our online music had to stop, but we certainly ended on a high, with nearly 7,000 followers across 45 countries and 60,000 interactions in the last week. And we raised money for a great local charity.”
The Railway Hotel in Saltash, Cornwall, is operating a Community Kitchen, providing free hot meals for those in need during lockdown. Licensees Neil, Gloria and Lewis Challen are preparing meals, which are being delivered with help from the local Saltash Lions Club. The pub team is also shopping for local people in self-isolation, and managed to raise £150 for Saltash Cadets from an online quiz and games night.
The Bluebell Inn in Desford, Leicestershire, has set up a shop to support the village, sourcing groceries and fresh produce through its suppliers. Manager of the Everards pub, Michael Cosgrove said: “Many in the village fall into the vulnerable category and can’t shop in the big supermarkets, so they can collect from us, or we’ll deliver. Some days, the shop is keeping me busier than the pub did!” Michael is also putting on quiz nights, bingo and DJ events through Facebook Live, to keep his customers entertained and connected with their friends during lockdown.
“The Covid-19 pandemic may have closed pubs for now, but their support for their local communities remains undiminished as licensees up and down the country adapt to offer local people practical, social and emotional support to help them weather this unprecedented crisis. If ever there were proof that pubs are a force for good in their communities, this is surely it!
gathered this selection of stories of pubs helping their communities in a
variety of ways. Please share any or all of these in any way you can, so that
we can help these community heroes get some recognition during the lockdown and
hopefully emerge strong the other side. If you share on social media, please include
When Mother’s Day became an early Covid-19 casualty, Brawns Den in Durham donated all the food they’d planned to serve families to local food banks.
In similar vein, The Cross Keys in Coleorton in Leicestershire delivered 50 lunches from pizzas to Sunday roasts to the community on Mother’s Day.
When The Falcon in Prudhoe, Northumberland, had to close its doors, it gave all its excess food to local residents.
The Myrtle Tavern in Leeds has stepped up to support the vulnerable in their local community, dropping off care packages to people self-isolating or unable to shop for themselves. Packages contain vital supplies – tea, milk, biscuits, toilet roll and a bottle of Guinness!
The Plough & Harrow in Leytonstone has donated soft drinks to the local hospital for staff to enjoy on shift, and alcoholic drinks for those who want to take them home. They have also donated to other key workers such as post workers and refuse collectors, and have set up a Facebook page encouraging other pubs to offer the same support for the NHS
Lesters in Margate has made its car park available only to NHS workers at the nearby hospital, who are also benefiting from the pub’s takeaway food service. Licensee Barry is doing all he can to support the community, despite being himself in his 70s.
Licensee Carole at The Clifton Arms in Blackburn raised more than £400 from the pub’s community in just half an hour and bought fruit boxes from a local producer to be delivered to the NHS staff at the local hospital. In the last week, the pub also delivered over 40 essential boxes to those who were in isolation or unable to leave home.
The White Hart in Nettlebed near Henley has set up a shop in the pub, offering vital supplies to local residents, and are cooking a daily hot meal, ready for collection if ordered the day before. A poll on the Nettlebed Facebook asking residents if they wanted the shop to continue got 127 votes in favour – and none against! Good work by licensee Ted Docherty and his team of live-in staff who are working on a voluntary basis to serve the local community.
The aptly-named Who’d Have Thought It in St Dominick in Cornwall is offering takeway and home delivery to the local community, and donating £1 for every order to a newly- established food bank offering vital supplies to the vulnerable.
The Blue Ballin Braunston, Northamptonshire, has been making up food boxes for the local community. Licensees Dom and Pip also set up a fund so that people can make a donation to purchase a box for those in financial hardship.
The Chestnut Group of 11 pubs in Suffolk, Norfolk and Essex has adapted its offer with freshly-cooked meals available for collection and delivery, live pub quizzes, Q+A sessions with the pub chefs on social media and online breadmaking demos. They’ve also opened shops at the Three Blackbirds near Newmarket and Globe Inn at Wells.
To help keep customers socially connected through the lockdown, The Fleece Inn, Skipton, has moved its weekly Tuesday Pub Quiz online, with quizzers able to see licensee Tim read out the questions. And The Portsmouth Armsin Basingstoke is running two quizzes a day – one for children at 5.00 pm and one for adults at 8.00pm. Around 4,500 people tuned in on the first day!
At The Bull & Bush in Shepshed, Essex, licensees Laura and Nez have set up a Facebook group for their regulars to share quizzes, music and more.