Some of the city’s pubs hit by the flooding are facing thousands of pounds worth of damage and weeks of closure after the River Aire burst its banks over the festive period.
The PMA spoke to several licensees reporting badly damaged equipment and stock losses.
George Tucker, who co-owns craft beer bar Sid’s Little Egg, told the PMA that water inside the venue had reached waist height by the end of Boxing Day.
“The river had been rising all day but then it started to come up through the drainage system. Water started coming in thick and fast. We managed to get all the TV’s, some of the furniture and some stock out, but the air conditioning and cellar cooling are damaged and we’ve also had to have the cellar sanitised.
“We put out a call on social media and the response was fantastic. People who we’ve never met and hadn’t been to the pub before came down to help. They got a lot of the rubbish and old stock out. When I looked around at all the people helping it made me cry. We’re right in the centre of Leeds and this community I didn’t know existed has really come together. Volunteers have brought wheelbarrows, hot drinks and biscuit.
“People have been truly altruistic. There’s nothing in it for them and some have spent their own money to help.”
Fellow local licensee Ian Forester, from the Kirkstall Bridge Inn, added that the hard work of volunteers helped the pub reopen in time for New Year’s Eve to host a sold-out event.
“With the help of Twitter and a few local councillors, we had a few hundred people turn up from local residents to fellow business owners. They helped clean for a whole day and managed to get a week’s work done in just 24 hours. It was brilliant and it shows how much people really do care about their local.”
Chris Howard, who runs riverside Mitchells and Butlers (M&B) lease the Aire Bar, also praised the pub company and locals for their response.
He said: “It’s been humbling. There’s been great community spirit and the local CAMRA branch has also been fantastic. Fair play to M&B, pub companies come in for a lot of stick but they’ve said they’ll do everything they can to help.”
The Licensed Trade Charity is on hand to provide support for licensees affected and can provide guidance and practical support. Call 0808 801 0550 or visit www.supportandcare.org