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Village pub calls for ‘urgent’ community help after manager let go

PUBLISHED: 18:59 07 March 2020

Community run Duke of Marlborough pub in Somersham is calling for more volunteers after reluctantly making manager Kevin Long (second from right) redundant  Picture: GREGG BROWN

Community run Duke of Marlborough pub in Somersham is calling for more volunteers after reluctantly making manager Kevin Long (second from right) redundant Picture: GREGG BROWN

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A village pub near Ipswich said it is in “urgent” need of help after hard times saw it take the difficult decision of making its manager redundant.

Kevin Long has worked as a presenter at Ipswich Witches for more than 20 years  Picture: STEPHEN WALLER WWW.STEPHENWALLER.COMKevin Long has worked as a presenter at Ipswich Witches for more than 20 years Picture: STEPHEN WALLER WWW.STEPHENWALLER.COM

The Duke of Marlborough Pub in Somersham had to release general manager Kevin Long after a period that saw the pub running at a loss.

Mr Long, 56, who ran the pub's popular quiz night, also works as the stadium presenter at Ipswich Witches, a role he has performed since 1998.

The pub was rescued in 2016 by a committee of volunteers, following two years of uncertainty after its previous owners of 15 years retired. Suffolk superstar Ed Sheeran also backed the cause before the official reopening in March 2017.

A statement on the pub's website said: "What has been achieved in the last three years since the community took ownership of the Duke is amazing, but anyone in the pub and beer industry will know that times are hard, particularly for rural venues.

"Despite all the success in re-establishing the pub as a hub of the community, we continue to face a hugely challenging issue. We have not yet started to break even operationally - and we need to do so urgently.

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"This means we have had to make some adjustments to the way the pub is run. By far our greatest outgoing is staff costs, and we came to the reluctant conclusion recently that we could no longer afford a full-time general manager. We have unfortunately had to declare this post to be redundant, and as a result, Kevin Long left the business on the 29th of February.

"We thank him heartily for all his input over the last two and a half years and wish him all the best for the future."

Following Mr Long's departure, the pub is now calling on volunteers to take over his role, adding it is in "urgent" need of additional help.

The statement continued: "If you are able to consider volunteering in some capacity, now is the time to come forward.

"Whether you simply have some spare time for a community endeavour, wish to make some new friends, or learn some new skills, we would love to hear from you.

"We hope that with this new staffing model in place, and with some exciting events planned for the late spring and summer, the Duke will quickly turn a corner and move into profitability. Your continued regular support has never been more important - village pubs are under pressure, so let's make sure ours now goes from strength to strength."

Those who would like to volunteer their time to help the pub should email the committee here.

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