Pub landlords hail £1,000 grants as pandemic lifelines
The Plough Inn at Stathern and The Sugar Loaf at Ab Kettleby have both been given £1,000 payments as part of the Leicestershire County Council initiative.
Cheques have been sent out now to 90 rural village premises across the county, also including The Anchor Inn at Nether Broughton and Geese and Fountain at Croxton Kerrial.
The scheme, thought to be the first of its kind in the country, aims to keep people in jobs, maintain the role of the pub as a community hub and help them to diversify by providing extra services for residents.
Martin Wilson, who has been landlord at The Plough Inn at Stathern for 13 years, said: “This funding scheme is vital for us so we can eventually open our doors, continue to trade and to support our community that we consider to be our family.
“We host a number of societies including the British Legion, Horticultural and WI to name a few.
“The Plough Inn has continued to support the community by providing takeaways throughout all lockdowns and delivering to the elderly so they have some hot food. Through this scheme we can also continue to provide this service which we consider vital to our surrounding community.”
Paul Robinson, who owns The Sugar Loaf in Ab Kettleby, said: “We are so grateful for our payment from Leicestershire County Council.
“Our main priority through the pandemic has been to make sure our customers were safe, we never took part in the ‘eat out to help out’ scheme so we could provide a safe environment for our customers without being overrun.
“So this grant has helped us with what we lost.
“A village pub is a community hub.”
Since the initiative was launched on December 18, 180 pub landlords have so far applied, with half of them benefiting so far.
Councillor Blake Pain, deputy county council leader, said: “I am delighted that so many landlords have come forward and we have been able to help these rural pubs which are vital hubs for villages.
“We know that the hospitality sector has been hit particularly hard during the pandemic and we felt it was important that they received our help.
“These remain difficult times and we will continue to offer support to our communities and small businesses.”
The initiative is backed by major trade body, the British Beer and Pub Association, which represents around 20,000 of the country’s pubs.
Chief executive, Emma McClarkin, said: “I applaud the county council for delivering their additional financial support for rural pubs at such speed.
“Rest assured their innovative approach has provided a vital lifeline to local pubs who have been hanging by a thread.
“Other county councils and the government should follow the leadership displayed by the council in saving our pubs.”