Local pub plans to open village shop to provide valuable new amenity

By Alan Quick   |   Editorial Manager/Photojournalist   |
Saturday 15th August 2020 5:42 am
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Mel Stride MP, left, in the beer garden at The Red Lion at Shobrooke, discussing plans for the pub’s village shop with landlady, Jane Johnson. ()

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A LOCAL pub which has supported many people during the pandemic is to offer a further lifeline to its community by opening a village shop.

Central Devon MP Mel Stride visited The Red Lion Inn in Shobrooke on Monday, August 10, to hear about the plans to open a shop at the front of the pub, to provide the village with a valuable new amenity.

Mel said: “It was great to visit The Red Lion, see their beautiful beer garden and hear about their exciting plans for a shop at the front of the pub.

“It was also useful to chat to Jane Johnson (landlady) about the measures the pub has put in place to ensure social distancing.

“While the Government has provided substantial support to our hospitality sector including tax breaks, grants, access to finance and initiatives such as the Eat Out to Help Out scheme, communities have a vital role to play as well. We must support our pubs now if we want them to survive.”

Jane Johnson told the “Courier”: “The support we have provided for the community has shown us there is a need for a shop in the village.

“There are a lot of elderly residents and people shielding and we have been obtaining supplies for them.

“Transport links are not very good with just one bus a day to Crediton, leaving the village at 10am and returning at 1pm, which is not long enough for most people to do much in the town. There is also one bus a week to Exeter and one bus a week to Tiverton.

“We have found that many elderly people can’t carry their shopping so that was another reason we are opening our shop.

“What we are doing is converting our office and junk room into the new shop. We have painted it and the shelves are up.

“We hope to open it in a few weeks and will be supplied by local producers and suppliers, where possible.

“We have been helped by ‘Pub is the Hub’ who have guided us on what to do and I am sure that the shop will help us stay in business and also help the community.”

Jane added that the Eat Out to Help Out scheme had helped to support the public house.

Mel Stride has been a long-standing campaigner for rural pubs, receiving a “Beer Champion” award from the British Beer and Pub Association, Campaign for Real Ale and the Society of Independent Brewers in 2015 for his successful campaigning in parliament against rises in beer duty.

The Red Lion Inn is a small family run business and the pub dates back to the 1580s.

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