The Crown Inn in Gayton and The White Horse in King's Lynn have won the Sheltering the Community and Community Mindfulness categories at the 21st annual Great British Pub Awards.
Two West Norfolk pubs have each won a national award recognising their contribution to the community during the coronavirus lockdown.
The Crown Inn at Gayton and The White Horse at Gaywood are both winners in categories of the 21st annual Great British Pub Awards announced tonight.
The Sheltering the Community award recognised pubs that offered support and shelter to those who needed it during the coronavirus lockdown.
At The Crown Inn, winners of the leisure and tourism award at this year's Mayor's Business Awards, this meant offering all three of its rooms to the coronavirus ward staff at Lynn's Queen Elizabeth Hospital, and providing them with free room and laundry service for three months.
Demand for accommodation outstripped supply as local NHS staff wanted to protect their families from exposure to the virus – so a website was developed to help find more rooms in the area, with 30 NHS employees housed in total.
The Community Mindfulness award recognised pubs that stepped up to unite the community in lockdown. Marvin Tillman at The White Horse hosted a two-hour live DJ set on Facebook each Friday, and before long, more than 1,000 people were tuning in from all over the world for some much-needed entertainment and human interaction. Marvin also donated items to the nurses on the critical care ward at the QEH, in partnership with the local church.
Having seen the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on communities across the country, and on the pubs that sit at their heart, The Great British Pub Awards changed its focus this year.
The aim was to recognise and celebrate publicans’ selfless acts of kindness in lockdown, from feeding vulnerable members of the community and providing NHS workers with somewhere to stay, to keeping morale high when people needed it most.
Coca-Cola has provided a £165,000 fund for the winning pubs, to help them continue their community work and make vital business improvements or upgrades over the coming months.
Nearly 1,000 pubs entered across the 15 categories, and the winners were chosen by the public. More than 65,000 voters had their say, before a virtual awards ceremony hosted by TV presenter Stephen Mulhern tonight.
Ed Bedington, editor of pub trade brand The Morning Advertiser, which organises the Great British Pub Awards, said: “Early on in the pandemic we received calls from pub owners telling us of the community work going on in towns, villages and cities.
“This was all being done despite the pub owners fearing for their own livelihoods. But they knew, even though they faced adversity themselves, they had to continue to support people in their communities. That’s just what publicans do.
“So, we wanted to bring to life these moving stories and give pubs the recognition.”
Coca-Cola GB Brands Director Paul Grace added: “Pubs are a vital part of Great British culture and provide a huge support to local communities. This year more than ever before, they’ve needed our support in return, which is why telling their stories through these awards is so important.
“Many of the pubs we’ve heard from have achieved amazing things in lockdown, crucially, with the support of their loyal customers. We must all keep looking out for each other while restrictions remain in place, to overcome the challenges that are still on the horizon.”
For more information and to watch the awards ceremony, which tells the stories of all the winning pubs, visit www.greatbritishpubawards.co.uk