Welsh publican comes to the aid of local residents by opening village store

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Publican Barrie Walden has opened a new village store in a log cabin at The Ponthir House Inn, in Ponthir near Newport in south Wales, to support local residents.  

During the previous Covid-19 lockdowns Barrie opened a pop-up village store in the dining area of the pub offering a range of essentials. It proved so popular with people living locally that he decided to make it a permanent fixture. The service was much needed by local elderly residents in an area where there is limited public transport and the nearest town is over three miles away.

The log cabin shop selling essentials such as milk, bread, fruit and vegetables was opened in the pub’s car park, 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 shop has proved such a success that Barrie also has plans to launch a delivery service to help many vulnerable people within the village. There is also a small seating area outside the pub where people in the community can now meet and socialise over a coffee.

Publican Barrie Walden said: “The village store has proved very popular with local residents with many popping in regularly for their grocery essentials and a chat.

He adds: “During the Covid-19 pandemic many local and elderly residents were nervous to venture out of their homes and the shop has proved to be a lifeline for them. It has also been great in attracting new people in to use the pub.”

Pub is The Hub regional advisor Malcolm Harrison said: “This store is a much needed service for the local village of Ponthir. The log cabin really has a wow factor and allows people to shop in a safe and socially distanced manner.

“It has been a huge benefit to local customers and the wider community.  It allows those people that have been at risk of social isolation and experiencing feelings of loneliness to have somewhere to come for that social chat, which can make a real difference to someone’s day.”