As we struggle with the negative effects of the latest UK lockdown, one thing is becoming more and more apparent: there has never been a more important time to emphasise that pubs, clubs, brewers and cider makers are a force for good in the community. Some individuals in the hospitality sector are going further and making an amazing effort to combat the social effects of the epidemic. They are going the extra mile to help people in need, despite suffering tremendous financial losses themselves during Covid-19.
One such hero is Caron Sayner, licensee of The Kemble Brewery Inn in Fairview, Cheltenham. Caron has received a CAMRA ‘Lockdown Hero’ award, from Cheltenham CAMRA, for exceptional service to the community. Despite only being open from October 6th to November 4th, since the March 2020 lockdown, Caron has continued to cook and deliver hot meals every Saturday. Although the pub is closed, and cannot supply takeaway beer directly from the pub, Caron also takes orders and delivers beer to her locals, at cost price.
Despite the financial losses from the long shutdown and having to continue to pay a reduced rent to her pub company, Caron uses the income from food sales to help those in need. Since the second lockdown onwards Caron has provided free ‘school meals’ to families in need and also to local people who are isolated – even delivering shopping for people when she is ‘tipped off’ by her pub regulars and neighbours.
On Christmas Day, Caron cooked and delivered 72 Christmas meals to people who were in need, or who were spending Christmas on their own. In addition, due to the generosity of the Kemble’s regulars, the Christmas meals were supplemented by donations of chocolates, mince pies, etc in Christmas Day gift bags delivered with the lunches.
“The Kemble Brewery Inn is a proper community backstreet local”, said Rob Coldwell, Cheltenham CAMRA Branch Chair. “Caron has worked wonders since she took over the Kemble to the extent that the pub has been our ‘Pub of the Year’ for the last two years and has done so in competition against some of the best pubs in the South West.”
“Despite greatly reduced income during lockdown, Caron has gone beyond all expectations to help keep people going in these hard times,” said Rob. “The Kemble is a great example of the traditional local pub – great beer, great food and a licensee who is the caring centre of the community. Cheltenham CAMRA is honoured to be able to recognise an inspirational licensee and present Caron with our first ‘Lockdown Hero’ Award.”
Meals can be ordered for collection or delivery every Saturday. See www.facebook.com/thekemble for details.