A year after the Dog Inn village pub at Belthorn was re-opened by a community group it has now opened a café and shop in the pub.
The pub was officially opened at the weekend by Malcolm Harrison, on behalf of Pub is The Hub who have supported, advised and part-funded the community group in this latest venture.
The Dog Inn re-opened after a year’s closure in November 2015 when the local community got together as a community benefit society to purchase the pub for £180k. The plans were to open a shop followed by community and meetings rooms and a community garden. The opening of the café and shop sees the fruition of the first of these plans.
The café and shop was identified by the community early on in the planning process as a place for groups to meet during the day over a coffee and cake and a place to buy those essential but often forgotten daily items like milk, eggs, bread and emergency teas. It was also important that, where possible, that daily provisions could be available locally.
An area was quickly identified within the original pub layout which would ideally suit a cafe and shop and so conversion began, new shelving, counter tops, electricity supplies, lighting, water supplies etc. With thick walls, no drainage and no dedicated utilities, this was a big task but with the help of a grant of £4,000 from the Community Services Fund the refurbishment was completed.
Patrick’s Tea and Coffee Shop was named after the dog’s head mascot that has been the patron of the pub for as long as anyone can remember. It is open daily from 2pm until 5pm Monday to Friday, and from 10am – 12 noon on Saturdays. The café sells a wide range of fresh coffees and teas with light snacks, such as bacon rolls, toasted crumpets and fruit toast. The shop within the café sells a range of convenience provisions, goods and gifts to cover essential items needed within the village.
“Knit and Natter” sessions take place every Tuesday afternoon, from 2pm – although non-knitters are still welcome – and the café is staffed entirely by volunteers.
Kathryn Sharpe, a community nurse is also secretary for the Board and in charge of the café and shop. She said: “Since we opened the pub over a year ago it has been a huge learning experience for all of us on the Board. Malcolm from Pub is The Hub has been invaluable in helping and advising us on about the café and shop and in providing the grant to make the necessary changes, for which we are enormously grateful.
“The café and shop is staffed entirely by volunteers so we would welcome more helpers if anyone is interested. Our volunteers all have enormous fun and have made many more friends in the area.”
Malcolm Harrison from Pub is The Hub added: “With the incredible amount of hard work and commitment that the Board and all the volunteers have already invested I’m confident that the café and shop will benefit the whole area. It gives people more reasons to visit this valuable community asset and makes the pub more successful and sustainable.”