Love Your Local: The Nell Gwynne in Southsea

SAVED Lloyd Chappell, 45, and Amy Carter, 29, at the Nell Gwynne in Southsea
SAVED Lloyd Chappell, 45, and Amy Carter, 29, at the Nell Gwynne in Southsea

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When the future of The Nell Gwynne looked uncertain, a team of regulars decided to band together and take action.

Now the pub in Jessie Road, Southsea, is in safe hands after the community stepped in to take it over.

Customers were spurred on to launch a bid after former landlord Steve Lant decided it was time to move on.

Amy Carter, 29, is now in charge of the lease after being a loyal user of the pub.

The pub’s manager Lloyd Chappell, 45, and barman Stephen King, 24, have also joined her as part of the venture.

And Amy said she is relieved the team have been able to carry the pub on – and it has not been snapped up a developer.

‘It was a bit random really,’ Amy said.

‘There are about 30 of us who use the pub every day and we were all upset it was going to close.

‘I already had a personal licence from my time being the manager at The Milton Arms, so I got in touch with the company that owned the building.

‘A week later, we had a meeting and the next thing we knew, we were signing the papers to take it over from December 1.’

Asked why she and her team were keen to take the pub on, Amy said: ‘We were all passionate about keeping it open.

‘When we took over, we sat down with the regulars and asked them what beer they wanted and now we supply what everyone wants.

‘If anyone has a request, we bring it in for them.

‘It’s a lovely pub, it would have been a shame if it had been turned into a KwikiMart or a Spar.

‘The regulars come in every day and bring their families and children at weekends.

‘This pub is very much part of the community.’

The pub is seeking to do more and hopes to run a beer festival later in the year.

There are eight draught beers and ciders as well as bottled beers from around the world.

‘I’m absolutely looking forward to the future,’ Amy said.

‘We are hoping, with the help of Portsmouth’s Irving Brewery, to do a real ale festival in a few months, which should be good.

‘We’re more about the real ale now than we were before.

‘We might do food in the future too.

‘We’ve only just set up so we don’t want to jump in too deep.’

Talking about how things have gone so far, Amy said: ‘It’s hard running a pub, but it’s good because we do not have a beer tie.

‘It’s a shame other pubs are closing.’

COMMUNITY-MINDED publican Amy Carter has always enjoyed working with others.

She started getting to grips with life behind the bar at 19 at Portsmouth Football Club - before going on to become the manager at The Milton Arms in Milton Road, Milton.

Amy, who has lived in Southsea and Milton all of her life, said: ‘I like interacting with customers.

‘When people come in every day, you get to know them and you get to know about their lives.

‘I like being involved with the community.

‘I much prefer being here in a pub, where I know everyone.

‘I like getting to know people and so does Lloyd.’

Amy is urging people to get behind their local pubs to ensure they survive and don’t get snapped up by companies wanting to turn them into shops and flats.

‘We don’t want to see pubs closing down,’ she said.

‘It would be horrible the day when the only pubs you can go in are Wetherspoon ones, because the rest are just shops and flats.

‘People need to use their local and love their local.’

The Nell Gwynne is more than just a place you can go to drink beer. It’s also the ideal place to chill over a tea, coffee and have a non-alcoholic beer.

Amy said: ‘We have a few people that come here on a Friday and Sunday afternoon who enjoy having a tea and coffee while relaxing while watching the sports and chatting to the regulars.

She added: ‘I see people here now who I never saw before when I was a drinker. They have really become part of the community here.

‘This pub has been here for a long time and it has always had so much potential. It just needed to be in the right hands.’