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Certificate of appreciation for Swaffham pub's community efforts during coronavirus lockdown

A community-minded pub has been presented with a certificate to thank staff for their efforts during lockdown.

Swaffham and District Lions showed their appreciation for the White Hart pub yesterday after the London Street business went above and beyond to support residents during the coronavirus pandemic lockdown.

The pub set up a Swaffham Emergency Action Group on Facebook, and with the help of volunteers, they delivered meals and essential items to those vulnerable or disabled who were self-isolating in the community.

Pictured from left to right during the certificate presentation are Kurt Oliver, Karen Oliver, Amy Pye, Louise Whitehurst and Swaffham Lions president David Elsom. Picture: Paul Marsh
Pictured from left to right during the certificate presentation are Kurt Oliver, Karen Oliver, Amy Pye, Louise Whitehurst and Swaffham Lions president David Elsom. Picture: Paul Marsh

A 'Hart to Home' delivery service ensured those who needed cooked meals within Swaffham and surrounding areas such as Oxborough and Watton were supported during the challenging period of time.

Landlord Kurt Oliver said: "The whole town and community helped us. As a business we get a lot of the limelight but it was a real community effort.

"The biggest thing is the donations which have been coming in, which has been something incredible and which was never originally intended. There are still a lot of elderly people who feel they can't come out so the meal delivery service is continuing. That turned out to be something unique as everyone can get a Chinese or Indian takeaway but to get quality restaurant food delivered to your door is quite rare."

The meals delivery service and takeaways have been 15 per cent of the business during the pandemic, Mr Oliver added.

Swaffham Lions president David Elsom presented the pub's staff with a certificate each, whilst a Certificate of Appreciation for the pub is already on display at the venue.

Mr Elsom also thanked the pub for setting up a community fridge outside the pub which was supported by donations of food from local supermarkets as well as generous individuals.

A spokesman for the Lions said: "With churches closed because of the lockdown they [White Hart] took over the collection for the foodbank with those in need able to pick up items from outside the pub."

And the Lions also teamed up with the White Hart in conjunction with emergency services, to deliver chocolate eggs for residents in the town during lockdown. This was after a local chocolate factory made a large donation of Easter eggs to the Emergency Action Group.

The Lions also highlighted the efforts of Swaffham Town Council and councillor Brendan Holmes, as well as Kevin Williams, for their unwavering endeavours throughout the crisis.

Regarding the prospect of a second full lockdown, Mr Oliver said: "With the support of the community, it is not something we could not do, and it's something we have plans to relaunch should everything go into full lockdown again. Hopefully it won't be but everything is unprecedented right now."

The landlord said elderly customers and families now feel safe to return to the pub, but the younger generation, who may want to enjoy a party, are not necessarily doing so at the moment.

In recognition of this, the White Hart will be running a new weekly event in October called 'Bottomless Boozy Boogie Brunch.'

This will launch on October 10 with Covid safe seating and live DJ sets. The food will be a tapas style mix of food which will change weekly, and it is pre-booked for groups of six.

Mr Oliver explained: "The night time economy and social gatherings have been left behind by the government and there is an industry abandoned. We are getting DJs together and we are inviting people in to enjoy some quality tapas food."

More information can be found on the White Hart Facebook page or by calling 01760 724295.

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