Norfolk pub opens community café to help local residents

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The Locks Inn in Geldeston, Norfolk has opened a new community café area to help create a social hub for local residents.

A warm welcome will be given at the café to everyone in the local community, with the aim of encouraging people who may be experiencing social isolation or feelings of loneliness to come along and connect with others over a coffee.

It will also host local groups including a mother and toddler group as well as appealing to local tourists, dog owners and walkers.

The community café at The Locks Inn, which offers a range of coffees, cakes and sausage rolls, was opened with the expert 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 pub is community owned and run by publicans Frank and Jodie Barrett.

Christine Pinsett, who is a member of the management team at the pub, said: “The main aim of this community café is to help the villagers and the wider community to socialise in a friendly environment.

“The last 18-months has been a big challenge for people and we want to provide them with somewhere they can get together to reduce social isolation and help improve their improve their wellbeing.”

Publican Frank Bartlett added: “We are looking forward to welcoming in all our customers new and old. Popping in for a coffee can be a great way to make new friends.”

Pub is The Hub regional advisor Terry Stork said: “The team has worked really hard to make sure this pub is supporting people in the local area.  The community café has really helped to make this pub a place for everyone to come and connect.

“The pub has disabled access and is dementia friendly to enable visits from care homes, local charities and organisations that can use it as a meeting place.”

There are also plans to open a small shop in the future.

The Locks Inn is community owned, being purchased on 4 November 2020 by The Locks Inn Community Pub Ltd, during the Covid-19 pandemic.