From celebration to frustration and survival, to community spirit and new hopes could describe the long weeks of lockdown for the Barford Inn.

Early in March, Olivia & Philip at village pub  near Wilton were announcing they had won the Best Newcomer Pub 2020 at the Hall & Woodhouse Business Partnership Awards. The award goes to the pub that “has begun to develop their business with great passion, enthusiasm and skill.”  Hall & Woodhouse held a night of celebration and recognition for their ‘Business Partners.’

Just a few weeks later, the lockdown began a completely new era for the pubs and the hospitality industry.

At the Barford Inn, the landlords adapted their menu to a takeaway service and supplied their popular home-made pub dishes first to the village, gradually growing to nearby locations and even in Salisbury.

“We have moved from a collection service to more frequent deliveries, especially to vulnerable and self-isolating customers, and we have grown the menu to include Sunday roast, daily specials and our lunch meal deals. We have re-introduced the drinks in takeaway format, including our most popular draught Badger Best bitter. We are now analysing the opportunity of introducing new services, such as local deliveries of essential items: grocery, cleaning products and fresh fruit and vegetables,” Olivia and Philip said.

Hall & Woodhouse brewery has been pro-active providing essential support to all of its business partners so that the pubs could focus on a constructive approach in today’s circumstances.

Survival actions became business decisions and the takeaway plan has kept the pub open. But the landlords say the perfect outcome of the crisis is that the village pub has been reconfirmed as the heart of the community.

The locals committed to support the pub during these difficult times, and the Barford Inn has become a central point for support services, acting as a drop-off point for bread or meat, delivering to the vulnerable and the self-isolating, or disseminating information necessary for local volunteer groups.

“Above all, this determination of the locals is an incredible reassurance that the village pub continues to be regarded and relied upon as the heart of the community: and there is hope for the future of this historical industry to be re-instated to its true potential and utility,” the landlords emphasised.

The Barford Inn is a 16th Century village pub in Barford St Martin, Salisbury. Olivia and Philip Stapley took over as tenants in October, 2018, and brought a welcoming family atmosphere, constantly improving the menu to include fresh, homemade pub dishes, and continually becoming involved in community events, which gained local appreciation as well as a great reputation in the Salisbury area.