Coronavirus: How a £15,000 crowdfunder has staved off the ‘killer blow’ of Tier 2 restrictions for one Holloway pub

Tier 2 coronavirus restrictions would have been the final death knell for a Holloway pub, had it not been for the generosity of its punters who have raised nearly £15,000 to ensure its survival.

During the three months that The Lamb in Holloway Road, Highbury, opened up again under Tier 2 following the first coronavirus lockdown, between July and November, it lost money.

Now stricter Tier 2 rules, in force in Islington and the rest of London from December 2 once the second lockdown ends, mean the pub can’t even reopen, because it doesn’t have a kitchen and can’t serve food - which is a requirement for the hospitality industry.

With thousands of pounds of bills to pay, including rent, its licensing fee and insurance, managers at The Lamb have launched a crowdfunder to divert a “killer blow”, and succeeded in raising thousands within just one week.

Landlord Ade Clarke told the Gazette the response has been “overwhelmingly brilliant”.

“We’ve had 300 people pledge, and it makes it all worthwhile to know the pub is that loved and we have that degree of support behind us,” he said.

“We want to stand on our own two feet but the year has been such a killer, not just for us but for every pub in Holloway Road, and all the independent restaurants that we know have been really suffering.

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“Part of me stil thinks another crowdfunder is a bit like begging, but our costs are the same although the takings have gone down,” he added.

“This year is beyond anything we could have ever planned or saved for. It’s just been extraordinary.

“We are missing our busy nights, which are when Arsenal is playing at the Emirates and match days.”

Pub staff worked hard to get the indoor space Covid secure, setting up a track and trace system and social distancing measures - but as Tier 2 rules tightened every few weeks, limiting people to only socialise with others within their household or bubble, the pub took less and less money.

“The curfew was a killer for many of us,” said Ade. “All of a sudden we had last orders by 9.30pm, missing two and a half hours of trade.

“That’s half the evning which is part of the reason our takings are down.

“If we had to shut the pub knowing that potentially somewhere along the line before too long there’s light at the end of the tunnel and we couldn’t make it that would be really sad all round.”

In the meantime, Ade hopes to sell takeaway beer and has been approached by firms who want to collaborate on a food offer.

To donate to the crowdfunder see crowdfunder.co.uk/the-lamb-crowdfunder.

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