We all have our favourite local pubs, restaurants and cafes and no doubt we’re missing them, but that hasn’t stopped many from going the extra mile to help their communities.
At Round & About, we put local businesses at the heart of all that we do and support, we love local and want you tell us about the pubs, restaurants, independent grocers, community stores and events that have helped lift your spirits over the past 12 months. Help us support them and say thank you with the R&A Good Cheer Awards.
Many have tales of selfless lockdown support – even when their doors were closed they went out of their way to help those around them while many groups switched their activities online to continue connecting with members and their communities.
From home delivery services to collaborating to support their community and developing a digital offering for the first time, many helped the vulnerable, checking they were ok, taking food parcels and generally spreading ‘good cheer’.
‘Good cheer’ is defined as “cheerful spirits; courage; feasting and merrymaking and good food and drink”
One local store which is “absolutely at the heart of their community” is Fittleworth Stores in Pulborough. It was named village store / local shop of the year in the Farm Shop & Deli Awards 2020 and has earned a nomination for 2021 having turned its function around last year, providing a delivery service and click and collect, it is described as a “tremendous asset to the village and one we all feel responsible and connected to”.
Among the pubs which shone in 2020 are The Swan at Clewer, Windsor, which scooped the Keeping the Community Entertained Pub Hero honour in the Great British Pub Awards. The community-owned pub used lockdown to fully engage with its locals with bingo, quizzes, music and even a book club all being run digitally to keep people connected.
The Junction Tap in Woking was a finalist in the GBPA Frontline Support category, helping key workers during lockdown. They bought a 3D printer and found a way to produce clips needed to affix the plastic visors worn by healthcare staff working closely with coronavirus patients. They soon made more than 1,000 which were delivered to hospitals across the country, expanding to print face shields, ear savers and nose clips. They have since produced more than 4,000 units to help frontline healthworkers.
One of the finalists for the Greene King Pub of the Year was The Star, Godalming, which just 12 hours after lockdown in March was operating as a takeaway, offering online quizzes, selling ‘pub in a box’ community meals, supporting a local charity, sending out 200 meals a day, offering NHS discounts, community meals and an outreach system delivering free food to those in need.
How has your ‘local’ helped to serve this up and gone the extra mile in your community?
Someone else recognised for doing his bit is Michelin-starred chef Tom Kerridge who owns the Hand & Flowers in Marlow (see his recipes). He recently picked up a British Institute of Innkeeping Heart of the Community award for his Meals from Marlow which has delivered more than 75,000 free meals to NHS staff, key workers, and those in need.
Tom is passionate about pubs and in a foreward to CAMRA’s Good Beer Guide 2021, he says: “While every sector across the UK has felt the burden of Covid-19, brewers and pubs have most certainly taken the brunt of the impact.
“The one thing I think we have all missed during lockdown is human connection and social interaction, which above all else, is everything that the Great British pub provides – a warm, happy, and friendly place for people to drink and eat. It is imperative that we continue to support our breweries and pubs to preserve them for generations to come.”
Between 2000 and 2019, more than 13,000 pubs called time forever. Kerridge was filming a BBC TV show called Saving Britain’s Pubs with Tom Kerridge when the lockdown was imposed on March 23rd. All 47,000 pubs in Britain had to close and walking around his beloved Hand & Flowers, he describes the move as “sad and frightening, very frightening”.
But while many have come up with innovative ways to survive and help their communities, many face a stark future. Central Southern regional director for CAMRA Paul Sanders said: “We have seen pubs operating as small shops, cooking meals for the disadvantaged and other ideas to keep the community together.”
Urging people to give their backing to their local, he said: “Please support our pubs (and breweries) – remember the money you spend with them goes back into your local economy, paying local people’s wages, buying locally, supplying locally. There will be pubs providing food to needy people, being the point of contact where there is none. Hospitality, the Cinderella business model, would still like to be at the ball, but without your ongoing support there will be no carriage to the ball.”
While pubs and restaurants have been the focus of much of the hardship the hospitality sector has experienced, all social activities have been hit so we want you to share with us how hospitality and events have been spreading ‘good cheer’!
“We have all missed human connection and social interaction... everything that the Great British pub provides”
Nominate your local now!
Tell us who deserves to win & why in the form below.