Ploughing services back into the community

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Sarah and Ted Williams at the Olde Plough Inn at Bere Ferrers in Devon have re-vamped an unloved and unused family room into a café and gift shop with the support of rural pub champions, Pub is The Hub.

The café and shop caters for local and tourist trade in their remote location, situated on the peninsular between the river Tamar and Tavy and its speciality is in serving Devon-made ice cream from Salcombe Dairy.

Reg Clarke, an advisor from Pub is The Hub worked with Sarah and Ted to upgrade their facilities and contributed a grant of £800 from Pub is The Hub’s Community Services Fund towards the scheme. Together they decided to relaunch the shop as a gift shop selling Devon-themed gifts as well as home-made chutneys and jams the pub with locally pressed apple juice and an even wider range of Salcombe ice creams.

Sarah said: “We have been in this beautiful for pub for eight years and we are trying hard to maintain business and provide a great local hub for our community. We are first and foremost a community centre for our village, providing regular events and serving good pub food but we also have to be attractive to the many visitors that we see in this area during the summer months as well.

“Our re-vamped family room gives us the opportunity for long-term viability and an outlet for selling locally made or sourced produce from Devon and we can’t thank Reg and Pub is The Hub enough for the help. Apart from anything, we have the best ice cream for miles around!”

The four hundred year old pub sits at the end of a railway line from Plymouth and Sarah and Ted also host regular visits from the ‘Friends of Devonport Park’ at the pub which aims to support people who enjoy gardening as therapy or for relaxation. Every two to three weeks a group of volunteers from the organisation travel by train from Plymouth to the pub to tend the garden. In return Sarah and Ted pay for the train fare and host a pub lunch.

Reg Clarke for Pub is The Hub added: “Sarah and Ted have diversified their business to maintain its success and to embed themselves in the heart of their community. I wish them well.”