'They've made my life worth living again': The community pub in the running for a 'lockdown hero' award

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A pub in Northampton which became a foodbank, hairdresser and shop to help its community through the coronavirus pandemic has been nominated for a 'lockdown hero' award.

The Swan and Helmet, on Grove Road, turned its focus to vulnerable members of the community at the outset of lockdown in March, offering food donated by local people.

Since then the pub has hosted socially distanced meet ups to combat social isolation, affordable haircuts, cookery lessons and it is currently a shop where people can pick any eight items for £5.

The pub has hosted meet ups to reduce social isolation Credit: The Swan and Helmet

Behind all these ideas has been Teresa McCarthy, landlady for the past 14 years.

She said: "It's always been a community pub, we always run community events. And I just felt [helping during lockdown] was something that was a service to give back to the community.

"I thought it would only last a few weeks but it really took off."

The work of Teresa and her team has been vital for some local residents, to help them navigate through the uncertainty of the pandemic.

Carol Mitchell, who has used most of the services offered, said: "[I'm] very grateful, Teresa’s been absolutely wonderful, and the whole team.

"They’ve made my life worth living again, I lost my husband last year and right from then, even before the lockdown, Teresa has been absolutely wonderful."

One of the pub's community initiatives was offering affordable haircuts Credit: The Swan and Helmet

Their work in the community has earned the pub a nomination in the Hospitality Lockdown Hero Awards, in the 'outstanding business of lockdown' category.

Teresa said credit for the nomination should go to the team of volunteers who have supported the pub.

"I was absolutely delighted when I found out [about the nomination], it probably makes me reflect back on all the work we’ve done throughout lockdown," she said.

"It's not for me, it's for our huge team of volunteers, it's for everyone that donated that collected for us."

The Swan and Helmet will find out if they've won at a virtual awards ceremony on Tuesday, 22 September.