Portsmouth pub cooks more than 5,000 meals for elderly and vulnerable during lockdown

A PUB in Portsmouth has delivered more than 5,000 traditional pub meals to vulnerable people across the area – and plans to launch a new menu for the wider community.

Wednesday, 22nd April 2020, 3:52 pm
Updated Wednesday, 22nd April 2020, 4:08 pm
Staff at the Duke of Buckingham pub.

The Duke of Buckingham, in 119 High Street, began cooking meals for the elderly and vulnerable across the city at the beginning of the nationwide lockdown, and are now cooking more than 200 dishes a day.

Landlords Fiona and Andrew Harvey are offering a range of hot meals and a dessert for £5.50, delivering the pub classics to care homes, sheltered accommodation, and older people in self-isolation.

Fiona said: ‘It’s nice to be able to go out and do something to help the community – it keeps us going.

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‘The response from the community has been great – we have filled the pub’s window with thank you cards.’

As well as offering the at-cost meals, the pub donated more than 50 dinners to The Lifehouse, in 153 Albert Road, a support centre and kitchen for the vulnerable.

Manager Mike Morell said: ‘The donated food means we can reach a more larger number of people in need and give them really high quality food.

‘The pair do fantastic work – they do a Christmas raffle for us each year and have raised hundreds of pounds for us over the years.’

Furloughing all 25 members of staff on 100 per cent pay and still waiting to receive government support, the independent pub is looking to offer meals for the wider community, either for delivery or collection.

She said: ‘We’re launching dinners for two on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights.’

The couple are being helped by 14 friends and members of staff, including their 26-year-old daughter, Charlotte, who described their ‘heart break’ at having to close the pub.

She said: ‘My parents have worked in hospitality all their lives – I was brought up in a pub and I have been doing this since I could remember.‘I remember the day we shut, I just cried.

‘You put so much time and effort into something and then you have to shut - it's heart breaking.‘We understand why it had to happen, but it it such a shame.’

A pub has stood on the site since the 18th century, and the public house has been known at The Duke of Buckingham since 1920.