Shrew boosts confidence post-Covid

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The community-owned pub, the Shrewsbury Arms in Kingstone, has re-opened with some new confidence-boosting initiatives supported by the Community Services Fund.

As well as re-opening again for its usual pub food and drink business, Kingstone Community Society has created a workshop space for crafts and hobbies; added some bicycle racks to attract passing cyclists through the village and purchased wheelchair-friendly picnic benches.

Kingstone Community Society member Alison Grocott explains: “Before the Covid-19 closure the pub had become really busy with a regular Monday quiz Night and ‘A crafty coffee’ each Friday morning for those who wanted to turn up and share their hobbies or just turn up for a chat and some company. It was great to see men attending this event and was very inclusive of all ages and sexes. Many new friendships were formed due to the project and it is wonderful to see.”

The community had been seeking advice from Pub is The Hub when they purchased the pub so when they heard about their Community Service Fund grants they decided to apply for some funding to build a home for all their crafts and hobbies and were given a grant of £3,000 towards costs. Volunteers laid the base and put the shed together in June with the future aim of setting up a workshop for a ‘Men’s Shed’ group to combat loneliness and isolation.

The remaining money from the grant was spent on bike racks to cater for and attract the large volume of cyclists passing through the village. The idea is to provide the right facilities to encourage them to use the pub for a quick stop over.

Finally, two of the picnic benches outside the pub have been specially elongated so wheelchair users can enjoy sitting outside around a table with family and friends. The tables were supplied by Charles Taylor Garden Furniture at a discounted price. 

Alison continued: “With Pub is The Hub’s help in awarding the grant and their inspiration to provide community spaces and activities we have used the funds to enhance the attractiveness of the pub – and to hopefully boost community confidence post-Covid.”

Phil Dixon, Pub is The Hub’s regional advisor added: “This scheme practically designed itself with community members looking for, and finding, the gaps in their local facilities and activities. Now they’re more than just a pub, they are a true hub of the community!”

The support from Kingstone villagers has been tremendous since the pub was purchased and re-opened in September 2019. There has always been a plentiful supply of hardworking volunteers who are now reaping their rewards and socialising together in their own much-loved local village pub.  
During the closure period, the tenants running the pub, Emma Smith, Kay Hughes, Adam Bonner and Tracy Punchard, were furloughed so activities were limited but in the first week the community sold their produce, meals and even toilet rolls from a pop-up shop. On VE Day they produced cream teas for the elderly residents in the village and delivered them to their doorsteps.

The photograph above shows, from left to right: Bill Pearson, Alison Grocott, Caron Hall & Chairman, Jonny Grey