It’s fair to say 2020 went down like none other most of us will ever live through. Like most, at the start of the pandemic, we never envisaged, almost a year later, we’d be back where we were in March, with pubs closed and the Country back in lockdown.
Through great energy and enthusiasm from our team, and support from our guests in the first lockdown, we have helped over 30 charities in our local towns over the course of the last 10 months.
As we entered lockdown one, our team volunteered their time to cor-ordinate great efforts in launching Your Hub, a not-for-profit aimed at raising money to feed those in our communities who need it most. Operating 10 of our pubs as hubs, we supported our towns with essential groceries and meals, and subsequently raised over £11k to help us produce 10,750 meals to a range of charities, including Youth Charity, YMCA, local care homes and NHS Centres in Bedford and beyond, Homeless Charities including Helping Hands in Warwickshire and several Food Banks, including Foodshare Maidenhead.
We raised substantial surplus cash, in excess of £30,000, which has enabled us to continue to support our towns. You can find out more about Your Hub here.
With the restrictions of Covid-19 still prevalent, we were unable to host our annual pumpkin carving competitions across the pubs. With thanks to Reynolds, our veg supplier, we were still in abundance of donated pumpkins, and were keen to not see them go to waste. Using our skilled kitchen team, we embarked of Project Pumpkin; donating over 300 pumpkins to local charities and producing over 1,500 portions of soup. From community centres and community fridges, to aid groups, food banks and housing units, we donated to 19 charities and schools local to our pubs. A huge thanks to our Peachy guests at Brookmans, also helped us fill a chest full of essential food items, passed directly to their local Trussell Trust Food Bank and as some of our pubs entered Tier 3, and into their second lockdown, team continued to produce another 180 ready meals, and in December, we produced 200 turkey roast meals to support Birmingham and Warwickshire.
As our industry struggled, and fellow colleagues lost jobs, we offered some help to our industry charity partner Hospitality Action, through a donation of £3,000. Throughout the pandemic, they have offered hospitality workers with Covid Grants, wellbeing and financial support, training and awareness.
In December we supported The Trussell Trust, with an aim of donating to their work, for every Christmas meals sold. Despite not operating at full capacity, and with several pubs closed, we managed to raise over £800 to their great charity, helping to end the need for foodbanks in the UK.
Yet here we are, in 2021, entering lockdown 3, with closed pubs once again. Wasting nothing, we donated fresh fruit, veg, eggs, bread and milk to local food banks. In Bedford we donated to Dine With Us Community Larder, in Witney, The Fleece ensured food went off to The Witney Fridge, and in Oxford, we directed food to Botley Larder. Over the coming weeks, our team will continue to donate time and we will continue to donate food items, and produce meals to any local organisations who need our help.
If you’re a charity or organisation helping feed others in your community, do let us know and we’ll see how we can help – firstname.lastname@example.org.