Devon publicans Selena and Steve Porter have opened a new farm shop and café at the Shipwright Arms in Shaldon near Teignmouth to help residents stay local for shopping as lockdown eases.
The couple took on the pub in December 2019 just months before the first lockdown, and with many elderly local residents and a lack of services in the immediate vicinity, they soon realised there was a need for a farm shop and café in the area.
They were able to renovate and transform a side room within the pub to create the shop with the help and a Community Services Fund grant from Pub is The Hub, the not-for-profit organisation that helps pubs to diversify and provide essential local services.
The shop offers a range of essentials along with fresh and local produce including fish from Brixham, freshly baked bread, cheeses, free-range eggs, locally sourced meat and handmade burgers. The new development also includes a small coffee area, which will allow local residents to meet and help reduce the risk of social isolation.
The pub also diversified during the year of lockdowns with a range of takeaway food, which the couple also delivered to local residents that were shielding. During the latest lockdown it ran a Thai takeaway menu as well as offering a traditional Sunday lunch.
Selena said: “When we took on the pub we had only been open two months when we went into lockdown. We got to know a lot of the people in the local area by offering our takeaway service and many local residents asked us to open a farm shop and café.”
She adds: “The farm shop and coffee area will be really important in providing not just food but company to many of our customers who have been isolated in lockdown and are desperate to meet and connect with others.”
Pub is The Hub regional advisor Reg Clarke said: “Selena and Steve have come to the aid of local residents with the opening of the farm shop which sells local produce and items suggested by the community.
“The café will also offer those living locally the chance to meet and socialise at a time when many of them have been isolated due to lockdown.”
Pub is The Hub is a not-for-profit organisation inspired by HRH the Prince of Wales in 2001, which offers independent specialist advice on rural services diversification or community ownership of pubs, so they can provide viable local services at the heart of the community.
With a proven track record of rural project development and delivery over the last 19 years, Pub is The Hub has worked with great publicans to open post offices, shops, libraries, cafes, community cinemas, allotments, play areas and much more. Since 2013, the organisation has also been able to offer small grants through its Community Services Fund.
Press release from Pub is the Hub
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