A publican who is appearing in Saving Britain’s Pubs with Tom Kerridge, which started on BBC Two this week , says her pub which opened a village store, supported by Pub is The Hub, is a vital resource for local people both in and out of lockdowns.
The White Hart in Chilsworthy, Cornwall is to feature in the show with famous chef and publican Tom Kerridge, who is determined to show the challenges faced by pubs hit by the impact and closures of Covid-19.
Despite the challenges facing their own business publicans Amy and Ian Durnall have already won a BII Heart of the Community Award for helping their local community during the first lockdown.
Amy applied to feature in the TV series, as she wanted to grow her business and help ensure it was sustainable moving forward. The series was originally planned to look at the challenges faced by pubs before Covid-19 but the filming, which was set to last three to four months, stretched to nine months due to the impact of the pandemic.
Amy and Ian have been at the pub since September 2017 and immediately invested in refurbishing and improving drinks and food served in the pub. They were rewarded by being recognised as Cornwall Kernow CAMRA Pub of the Year 2019.
There are no other services in the pub’s village of Chilsworthy so the couple try to support the needs of local people as much as they can, so far opening a village shop and a printing facility.
When the first lockdown came into force the shop became increasingly important to the local community with Amy taking on door-to-door deliveries of groceries and takeaway food to the most vulnerable.
“The shop is about being part of the community and being community focused,” she said.
“We are in a rural community and some people are at a vulnerable age. I am a personal shopper delivering groceries and takeaway food. The pub was massively essential in the first lockdown and we continue to support our local customers through this second lockdown.”
Amy said that she believes that the next six to 12 months will be crucial for the whole hospitality sector. But she added that it is important for pubs to continue to support their local area.
“Even with the door shut you feel you need to support the community. We felt it was essential that we stayed open with food and the shop,” she said.