The Royal Oak and Castle, Pevensey
Publish Date: 2 June 2020
When the pubs had to close on 20 March, it meant a very uncertain future for pub owners.
Hayley Fitton, who runs the The Royal Oak & Castle Inn in Pevensey, explained:
“We knew we needed to completely change our business if we are to survive so we did. “We’re a little bit different because we’re lucky enough to have a smallholding. As well as serving takeaway meals in the evening, we were able to provide weekly fruit and vegetable boxes with additional essentials such as bread, milk, eggs and cheese. We are also able to use our own home-reared meat for the meals where possible.
The Royal Oak & Castle has been one of the 80 volunteers groups helping the Wealden Community Hub.
“Our focus has always been on being welcoming place for the local community and visitor. Holding live pub quiz nights through our Facebook page, helped keep that going.
“One lady told me that our quizzes are one of few times she still feels a part of the community and has people to communicate with. It’s heart breaking but also uplifting to know that reaching out in this way is a lifeline to some.
“I decided to organise Natter and Catch Up sessions via Zoom to counter the inevitable loneliness some people were feeling. Social media has been a great way of keeping people engaged with the community every day.
“As the weeks continue, my husband and I have been helping cook some take-away dinners for Pevensey Community Support. Local volunteers then deliver them to households in the local area.
“Looking ahead, It’s important that local people know we’re here and here to stay. Following the success of the vegetable boxes, I am opening a farm style village shop open from Friday to Sunday, selling local produce.
“Although we’ve been challenged in the past weeks, I honestly believe we’ll bounce back bigger and better, I’m so grateful to our local community for their ongoing support and we can’t wait to welcome everyone back.”