Charitable landlords of top Garstang pub in running for national awards for community work in pandemic
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Good news certainly comes in threes for managers Heather Brandwood and her partner Caroline Porter, who have been recognised for their work supporting the community throughout Covid-19.
Their efforts included running a crisis foodbank, raising money for victims of the Mallowdale Avenue house gas explosion and giving Christmas gifts to underprivileged families, all whilst running the pub and restaurant.
The Bellflower, on Parkside Lane, was recently awarded the Tripadvisor Travellers Choice Award, received recognition from the High Sherriff of Lancashire and is currently in the runnings in BBC’s Make Difference awards and the nationally recognised Great British Pub Awards.
Heather, 33, said: “It is just amazing to be recognised for our efforts and what we have tried to do for the community through such a difficult year. We are so shocked to have received such big nominations but it shows that we have really made a difference.
"We have done so much work with the community over this past year and none of it would have been possible without their support. We work up to 65 hours a week just running the pub and then work on these projects in our spare time.
"We both really believe in the goodness of people, and by being the first ones to come up with new ideas, people are more than happy to get behind you and support you if it means helping others."
The Marstons pub is up for the ‘Community Hero’ and ‘Best Family Pub’ categories in the British Pub Awards, as well as reaching the finals of BBC’s Make a Difference in the Community Project of the Year category.
Heather and Caroline have run numerous schemes throughout the pandemic to help their community, starting at the beginning of the Covid-19 outbreak when they ran a crisis foodbank and raised money to deliver food parcels to people in need locally.
They also raised more than £65,000 for the victims of the Mallowdale Avenue gas explosion through a Just Giving page, aimed to support residents after the devastation of losing their homes.
They also raised money throughout Easter and Christmas to give gifts to families struggling in poverty and hosted a breakfast for front line workers who had battled through during Covid-19.
As well as this, the pub landlords currently run a period poverty scheme for women who struggle to afford sanitary products and have also just set up ‘The Natter Shack’, bringing isolated people locally together for an hour to talk over a hot drink. Since it was introduced, 41 Marstons pubs are now on board hosting it.
Heather added: "I have never seen a pub get into the final of two categories in the Brtish Pub awards, especially because there are thousands that go into each category. We are both just so shocked. This is a really big deal for us.
"We never thought we would be considered for the British Pub awards because it is such a nationally prestigious award.
"It just shows that pubs are often at the heart of a community and more than just a business to make money from. Pubs are about so much more than that, and the more people can do in our position the world will be a much better place.
"We have tried to think outside the box and help the community wherever it is needed, and none of this would have been possible without the support of people locally. It just spurs us on to keep doing more."
More information can be found on the Bellflower Facebook Page.