STAFF from a Wokingham pub have been praised for their efforts to make the town a welcoming place.
Volunteers from the Berkshire South East Branch of the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) recently visited The Ship Inn to present them with an award they say is much-deserved: Community Pub of the Year.
A spokesperson for the group said: “What makes a great community pub like The Ship? It is its focus on all parts of the community from the very young to the elderly and all points in between.”
CAMRA judges have noted that the pub hosted a free Christmas lunch for older folk to ensure that they wouldn’t spend Christmas alone, and that younger customers were invited to add a wish to the Peach Street pub’s Christmas tree – in exchange for doing so, they received a message from Santa and a free gift.
And this year, it has offered free cup of tea and coffee again to Wokingham’s older population, with the aim of allowing them to come in from the cold and have a chat.
That’s not all: The Ship Inn runs a mums and toddlers group to break the social isolation often felt and has a separate private area to allow mums to breastfeed.
The CAMRA spokesperson added: “Meals are family friendly with plenty to keep children occupied and on a Friday, its Fish and Chips meal is especially popular with a local care home calling in to take it to their residents as a treat.
“The issue of isolation is taken very seriously and all tables are provided with a small card which says ‘Feel free to join me’ to encourage those eating alone to get together.
“The pub offers everything that would be expected such as darts teams, sports TV, good beer and a very friendly atmosphere. Dave Jennings and his team have worked hard to create a warm and welcoming venue which is extremely deserving of the award.”