Cumbrian pub opens only shop in village

By Amelie Maurice-Jones

- Last updated on GMT

Rebecca and Joseph standing outside of the Royal Oak Hotel
Rebecca and Joseph standing outside of the Royal Oak Hotel

Related tags Cumbria Social responsibility Trade Public house Service

Publicans of the Royal Oak Hotel in Beckermet, Cumbria have come to the rescue of local residents by opening the only store in the village.

The store is based in a former pool room and opens from 9am to 8pm every day. Essentials like bread, milk and local produce are sold as well as takeaway foods such as pizza and fish and chips. 

There are no other shops in the area, and it is around four miles to the nearest supermarket. In the past, many villagers have had to rely on friends and family to deliver their shopping, as there are also limited transport links. 

Co-owner of the pub Rebecca Richards said: “It has been such a challenging time for local people and the village store is proving to be such a lifeline. Customers have asked that we start to stock meat products such as bacon and sausages so we already talking to a local butcher to broaden the range we offer.  

Backed by the community

She adds: “We have had such great support and positive feedback from villagers when we reopened the pub and introduced the new store. A lot of new faces have come into use the shop and we love it when customers stop for a chat, so we can see how they are doing”. 

Rebecca and Joseph Richards took over the Royal Oak in March 2021. The premises had been closed for two years but was refurbished and reopened with a focus on good quality food. 

Essential services and social space

The shop was opened with a Community Services Fund grant from Pub is The Hub, a not-for-profit organisation helping pubs diversify and provide essential local services.  

Pub is The Hub regional advisor Malcolm Harrison said the store’s opening had been a great help for Beckermet residents, who now had somewhere to go for essentials and takeaway food, as well as have a place to go for “much needed social interaction”. 

Harrison added: “Rebecca and Joseph have stepped in to help the villagers of Beckermet offering not just a village store but a great pub that a lot of support from those living locally.”  

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