Hospitality Heroes: How Wookey Hub has been providing essential services throughout lockdown
By Tim Lethaby
13th Apr 2021 | Local News
Welcome to the latest in our Hospitality Heroes series on Wells Nub News.
We will be providing you with a profile of a number of fantastic hospitality venues to run alongside their reopening in April and May.
The industry has been hit particularly hard with pubs, restaurants, tea rooms and accommodation only open for four out of the last 12 months.
Today here is everything you need to know about Wookey Hub.
Situated in Wookey High Street, the Wookey Hub is run by Andy and Annette Childs, and they have been running essential services for the village community throughout lockdown, and effort that was recognised last month by an award in the Bristol, Bath and Somerset Tourism Awards.
Andy told Wells Nub News: "Before lockdown we had a cafe without a fully functioning kitchen on site and a very small shop.
"The shop was that small and insignificant, we had considered getting rid of it to make way for additional seating. Thank goodness we never got round to it!
"At the outset of the pandemic as lockdown seemed to be looming closer, we galvanised a team of volunteers to man the village help line offering prescription collections, a chat line for anyone feeling lonely, and those taking on the tasks for those not leaving their homes such as post office runs, etc.
"We started a home delivery service from the shop and soon realised we needed our own team of volunteers to take the phone calls, pick the orders and deliver to surrounding villages and areas.
"We did this while staying open to the public who used the shop or for takeaway drinks and cake. At one time there were a team of 11 of us in total.
"With our wholesale deliveries cancelled to take precedence to deliver to care homes we went to the wholesalers in Weston and Avonmouth six times a week to ensure we never ran out of anything, and we didn't. We maintained stock of toilet roll, yeast, flour and sugar throughout.
"We extended the range beyond recognition using local suppliers wherever we could, in order to show them support and ensure we had the best we could offer.
"Annette's birthday was spent from 6am until midnight moving the shop's location from one side of the business to the other in order to give it more space.
"We adopted new payment methods overnight so that people could pay online for their deliveries, pay by phone or even set up a voucher with credit from which to pay for goods.
"A marquee was brought in to provide outdoor seating for the brief time we were allowed to allow people to sit down.
"In the months past we have invested in a fully functional kitchen which we hope to open in April. We have kept the marquee even though customers have been unable to sit down.
"We have obtained an alcohol licence for both on and off site sales during lockdown and are so proud to be supporting several local companies which started up through lockdown.
"Our next steps during the adventure that is lockdown, is to complete a new counter and reposition it to offer more seating once able to open. We are also changing the complete look of the entire cafe.
"Since March 2020, and due to our tiny little shop that's not so tiny or insignificant anymore, we have only closed for Easter Sunday, Boxing Day and New Year's Day.
"We even opened on Christmas Day to provide a destination to go for those that had no-one they could spend Christmas with so offered free coffee and mince pies.
"In total over 40 people came and sat in the marquee. I think it gave everyone including us a bit of a feel good factor.
"All the changes we made due the pandemic have been incorporated into our business plan and we hope that each and every one of those including the home deliveries are here to stay for the foreseeable future. That is except for social distancing. We cant wait to welcome people back to sit in the cafe."
You can visit the Wookey Hub website HERE.
Check out our other Hospitality Heroes article on Double-Gate Farm in Godney HERE.