More than three weeks after pubs closed their doors due to the Covid-19 outbreak, many are continuing to work tirelessly to support their local communities.
This support has taken many forms, from offering essential supplies to customers to preparing hot meals for local homeless and other vulnerable groups, as well as keeping regulars entertained and connected during isolation with online quizzes, music nights and more.
PubAid, a working party dedicated to celebrating the work done by UK pubs in supporting their local communities, has been tracking these initiatives. 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."
The Angel & Crown in 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 4pm-5pm, seven days a week. 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.
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 used the food it had in stock, but is now reliant on donations, which are gratefully received at: https://www.paypal.me/angelforthehomeless
At the other end of the country, 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 the 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 has managed to raise £150 for Saltash Cadets from an online quiz and games night.
Flanagan added: "Pubs have 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 ongoing recognition and support of their local communities."
For more information, visit the PubAid website