The Duke of Wellington Community Pub
I have been at The Duke since April 2018, working originally for a couple of months under the previous landlord. I always knew the pub was up for sale and therefore a temporary job. Then in June 2018 the pub was purchased by the community, led by Leasingham Community Benefit Society (LCBS).
I was approached by the committee before the sale was completed, to discuss if I would like to keep my job as bar maid and help them launch the pub.
For those of you who don't know I am originally a Devon girl (country bumpking), and was brought up in a small community, in a tiny village of 300 people. From turning 18years old I worked on the bar at the village hall. My mum was the chairman of the village hall and when she stepped down from her post I was appointed committee secretary and bar organiser. For 6 years I organised village hall bars, and everything that went along with it.
I also got a job in the village pub, very quickly finding my love for bar banter, knowing the locals and general pub work. This work carried on until I moved to Lincolnshire 6 years ago.
On moving to Lincolnshire I got a job in The Plough Inn, in Wilsford. Where under the old landlord I learnt a lot, and was a regular face behind the bar and taking charge of the bar for events. When the landlord retired and the premises owner was forced to keep the pub open until he found a new tenant, it was left to myself and the cook to run.
I also got a job at The Houblon Arms in Oasby working behind the bar and in the kitchen, whilst also holding down the job at the plough.
I then left pub work and got a job full time as an outdoor instructor, which was what I always wanted to do. But I was pulled back to bar work.
When LCBS committee purchased The Duke of Wellington it was clear that we could help each other, with my pub experience and their drive to make the pub a success. For the initial 6 months I worked alongside the committee to run the pub, whilst they looked for a tenant landlord. In December I was taken on by the landlord and continued to be a valued member of The Duke of Wellington. In May 2019 the landlords left the pub and I was asked to step back up and steer us through some hard times.
Having worked at the pub for 2 years I had learnt a lot more about my drive and ability to run a pub, and although I have a very busy home life, I felt this really was something I wanted to do.I knew my drive to build the pub to be the community hub that the community dreamed of was possible.
I spent allot of time working on a business proposal that would suit my work/life balance. This was by no means a straight forward job interview. This was something I had worked at for 2years, before having the belief to do it. Obviously being the successful candidate I officially took over the role as Pub Manager on 19th September 2019.
We recruited more staff, taking on Simon Cowap as our chef, who is a local Leasingham lad, wanting to get back into cheffing. Also we took on numerous local members of the team, for bar duties and kitchen waiting staff.The kitchen reopened on 1st November, serving good quality home cooked pub food, and was a great success.
We had a great Christmas and New year period and were excited for what 2020 had in store for us with a full diary planned of events.
Sadly that was not to be. Coronavirus took hold and we were forced to shut our thriving pub. It has been a very odd year, but we at The Duke hold on to the success that we achieved in my first 6 months of management, and know that we will bring The Duke back alive in the future.
All I can say for now is watch this space, The Duke will thrive again, but until then, Thank you for all your support.
Leasingham community benefit society
n November 2017 Enterprise Inns put the Duke of Wellington Freehold on the market and this started the clock ticking for the Village to buy the Pub. Volunteers came together to form a committee and the LCBS came about to enable the raising of the necessary funds. A Share Purchase scheme was offered to the wider community and, with the help of the Plunkett Foundation and KeyFund, the necessary funds started to arrive to enable the purchase the Duke and run it as a Community Pub. After a successful bid the Duke of Wellington is now owned by 526 investors.
For more information on LCBS, please click on the link below to view their website.