This blog isn’t about the return of the pub as we would want it; it is all about the ongoing life of the pub as a special place to the community. A pub needs three things to succeed: product, place and people. The product is food and drink and it really needs no more comment as we have that at the New Inn in great quality. As for place, whatever else Covid-19 does, it doesn’t destroy buildings and that means pubs, as bricks and mortar will survive.
It is the people that need the focus and no more so than in and around Halse. If you look up the Oxford English Dictionary definition of ‘community’ it provides a number of alternatives. In amongst all these there are two we would probably all agree with. The first definition is ‘the condition of sharing certain attitudes and interests’
This sense of the word can be used to describe the many examples of how Covid-19 has brought people, often operating under different circumstances, closer together – from clapping for the NHS, to delivering food and medical prescriptions to the vulnerable at home and turning pubs when it was allowed in welcoming, cosy and friendly venues.
The second definition is ‘a group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common’. This is where pubs become important and at the heart of what happened in Halse in 2020. In particular, the New Inn started to take over the condition of a shared place catering for all those who want to share time, space, gossip, friendship, food, drink and other things. And in a broader sense too, this is how many people have over the past year started to view pubs – as a centre of their community. While Covid has raged, pubs all over the country have had a horrible time. But despite their two very different trajectories, the concept of ‘community’ links Covid 19 with pubs. And arising from this link is a recognition of sharing and caring and this has been especially so during the pandemic.
There has, as we all know, always been a caring community in Halse but one of the outcomes of Covid-19 could well be that it has enhanced that community feel and taken it to a new level. It feels like going back to a time when pubs really were the heart and soul of their communities? That’s what it looks like now and that is a great reason to stay optimistic and look forward.