Ashby Pub Manager Starts Online Group To Deal With Mental Health Issues - And Help Regulars Through Lockdown

By Graham Hill

31st Jan 2021 | Local News

An Ashby pub manager has started an online group for people whose mental health is being affected by lockdown.

Alex Stanley, who runs The Lamb Inn in Market Street, knows it could be May or June before pubs can open their doors to customers again.

So she has decided to keep her customers together and connecting with each other online.

Alex started the Done With Silence Facebook group, with Tamworth-based Neil Phipps, so that people can talk about issues connected with the coronavirus crisis and the fact that they cannot go out and socialise as they would do normally.

She is also planning to decorate the windows of The Lamb during the current months after her impressive Christmas lights added to the seasonal feel in Ashby.

Alex has also been working with the Mayor and Mayoress of Ashby to donate items to mental health charity Mind after a planned Christmas charity raffle was cancelled when the country went back into lockdown.

Alex explained: "It's the customers I worry about, not so much the younger ones, but the older ones and I think mental health is important.

"I now have a group on Facebook which has 500 members which aims to keep everyone's spirits up.

"Because I can't do it in the pub, I'm doing it on social media.

"I have a group called Done With Silence which has been phenomenal and it's gone from strength to strength.

"It's a private group but people have told some amazing stories and it's been a huge help - I know all of the people in that group.

"I think mental health is a massive thing at the moment, and that's what worries me, people come to the pub because it's that social aspect where people can see their friends and their family.

"Even if it's the old boy who has a pint but stays three hours just to chat to the staff behind the bar."

Alex believes it is important for a pub manager to recognise the needs of her customers.

She added: "The Lamb especially is the heart of the community, we don't serve food because we try and make it a community hub so you're not just sitting there eating.

"That's our goal, it's all about community.

"This week, for instance, all the Christmas stuff in the window is coming down and we're going to do a Valentine's special in the window 'Love Your Local'.

"I'll be putting little quotes in the window, so when people are queuing for the bank, it might just make them smile a bit, that's why I constantly do stuff, just to keep people interested.

"The customers love that I do live videos from the pub so they can connect.

"I try and do my best, but I'm 31 and I struggle with it. Never mind the rest of the population.

"But decorating the window shows we're here, even if we're not open.

"And if there's a sudden announcement that we can open in March, then we'll have a Christmas party because we've still got decorations up in the bar.

"But I also post on Facebook things like 'What do you miss most about the pub'. And someone replied, 'I used to like going to The Lamb as it made me feel better."

Alex used to manage the Old Stone Cross pub in Tamworth, but she has made The Lamb her own.

She added: "I'm the manager and I have a company that employs me, Craft Union, but I am living on site and I'm still here and working to maintain The Lamb, it's just a case of when we can open again, we've been told between May and June.

"I'm still here, I want people to know that, and I'll be opening up the doors as soon as I can - because I think a lot of people are worried that the pubs aren'y going to survive, but we will.

"We can get through and we will do it together. Four or five months seems like a long time, but it's something we can aim for."


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