Teignbridge local pub
Name of business or social enterprise
Local pub Teignbridge area
Type of business or social enterprise
Where in Devon are you located?
Please tell us your experience of the economic and social needs/challenges you have had to address and are now having to address as the lockdown eases:
The lockdown closed the business completely at no notice. Causing panic for myself and my staff. The landlords who own the building produced great support during the whole period. We have now reopened with 10 less tables, which means we have seen a greater challenge in how the business is able survive
especially as some suppliers have chosen to put their prices up.
How successful do you think the measures you have put in place have been, and of any new measures you are taking going forward:
The measures of spreading out the tables due to distancing is working well, due to loosing 6 tables inside we are now running a system of two sittings in the evenings for food which we may well keep.
Due to the unknown fact of if we are going to be closed down again, we have reduced out staff by half, which means we are only able
to operate on a reduced hours basis, which has hit our takings hard but we trying to make the best of it.
Due to Corona going on, come the winter we are likely to reduce our hours further to reduce the cost and to reduce the risk of the pub
failing. Luckily we have a strong trade in food and I think for the winter we are going to have to push harder on that side and turn more towards a restaurant to survive.
What is your overriding thought about all you have been through as a rural business or social enterprise during this unprecedented time:
It is very tough and it is about having the correct team around you and having the right mindset that you will be OK if you don't try and please everyone and have a clear goal in mind.
During lockdown I spent a lot of time trying to work out what direction the business needed to head in to survive but it was impossible to tell and was very scary to plan for because we could have come out of lockdown and opened the door to find that no one wanted to come in as they didn't feel safe.
BLACKDOWN HILLS COMMUNITY CENTRE
'I am Centre Manager for a Community Centre in the Blackdown Hills. Before Covid-19 we ran a variety of different services for the Elderly – a day care facility twice a week, a monthly Memory Café and a monthly Social Group. We also ran weekly classes Pilates, Yoga, Tai Chi and Keep Fit, these classes are run by teachers who hire our Studio. We hosted a weekly art class. We have 3 therapy rooms and have an Osteopath, Chiropractor, Massage Therapist, Beauty Therapist, Reflexologist, Acupuncturist and Speech, Language Therapist and a Herbal Clinic, who were hiring space every week. We also ran a weekly, term-time, Stay & Play Hub for families. We hired out the facility for birthday parties, family celebrations, and had many fundraising events and community concerts throughout the year.'
THE CHALLENGES WE ARE CURRENTLY FACING
1) Services for the elderly – the Centre Users in this category are incredibly vulnerable, and having carried out an initial risk assessment, we deem the risk to be too high to run any place-based groups for the elderly at present. We have a dedicated room for our day-care facility but we can only accommodate 5 members if they are socially distanced. We would usually have 16 so if we did deem it safe to re-open it would not be financially viable.
2) Classes – it will not be financially viable for some of our exercise classes to re-start if we follow the 2m social distancing guidelines. There would only be enough space for each teacher to have 6 students per class. I understand the government state 1m+ for social distancing – 1m if 2m is not financially viable – as long as you wear a mask or sit side-by-side. There is therefore some pressure to allow classes where the students can be 1m apart and work side by side. I am not comfortable with this, would we put people at risk for the sake of financial viability? From Saturday 8th August, masks must be worn in Community Centres and up until 24 hours before this new rule came in to place, there was no information about whether they must be worn during exercise classes – on Friday 7th August, they updated the information and masks can be removed in the Centre to exercise. In the case of classes like Karate – where students may start 2m apart but are constantly moving around and therefore may end up far closer than 2m apart whilst breathing heavily – on paper it would pass a risk assessment but how safe is it?
3) I have 3 therapists currently working, but they are working in a locked building and clean their rooms between each patient and have to follow very rigid protocols set out by their governing bodies in line with government legislation. We used to have 2-3 therapists using the same room in a day – but now we are restricting it to one therapist as we can’t finance having a cleaner in to completely clean the rooms between each clinic.
4) We will not be running our Stay & Play Hub for the foreseeable. We often have 20 adults and children, we wouldn’t have the capacity to socially distance – and you cannot socially distance under 5s!
So, although we are ‘allowed’ to open for most of our services to run, it is not financially viable or safe to do so following the current guidelines so we remain closed.
We are a charity with a usual annual income of approximately £65,000 and at the moment we only have the income from 3 therapists hiring therapy rooms and two offices but they are all working from home. We have 4 part-time paid members of staff who are currently furloughed or part-furloughed. If we are not able to get up and running again when the furlough scheme runs out in less than two months, we will find ourselves in a very tricky financial situation.
ADAPTING AND HOW WE ARE OVERCOMING CHALLENGES
· I contacted the DCT Covid Helpline number and talked with a member of their staff where I received information and signposting to other resources to help me, found on their website. Through conversation I understood that one of their project delivery called Devon Highlights is for 55+ cohort. I am now entering into conversation with the project team to get our 18 vulnerable adults that attend our centre weekly, up skilled in the use of Zoom and us hosting Zoom at the centre so that they can participate with Devon Highlights to give them a sense of community during this time with the hope of further collaboration once we can be place based again.
· We have followed the guidelines from ACRE – Action with Communities in Rural England, which has been really helpful in preparing to re-open. I have implemented everything necessary from a one-way system, signage for hand-washing, sanitiser stations, not entering the building if unwell, not entering the building without a mask, catch it, bin it, kill it, room capacity restrictions etc. Risk assessments have been written, new guidelines and hire agreements have been implemented.
· We have taken the opportunity to re-decorate the Centre as in normal circumstances to rooms are rarely free to be able to undertake such a massive job. We have been hugely fortunate that this has been carried out by two volunteers from the community.
· Volunteers from the community have kindly supported the more isolated members or our groups by telephone during this period and also offering services such as shopping and prescription collections.
· To help tutors of group activities such as yoga and pilates (where numbers of clients have had to be reduced and therefore are not financially viable to run), we have extended the duration of the hire period to cover two sessions (with reduced capacity) for the price of one session. The tutors will have to work double the time they did pre-covid for the same money but at least their costs will remain the same.