A Croydon poet, Nick Makoha, is supporting publicans across south-east England with a heartwarming poem about pubs.
The poem, Botanist, which has been commissioned by Tunbridge Wells-based arts project Inn Crowd, is part of a national campaign called “Winter Warmers”. The campaign aims to help bring some hope to publicans, their staff and their local communities after a miserable 2020 for the pub trade and a wretched start to 2021 under the current lockdown.
Makoha’s poem, and six others, written by poets from across England, are being shared on postcards, on social media and on posters, all in an effort to stay connected with their communities while they are shut out of their local pubs.
Some publicans are using the postcards by putting them in customers’ takeaway bags and food boxes, or writing a cheery note on them to post through the doors of people who may be struggling.
The “Winter Warmers” campaign has been created by Pub is The Hub, the not-for-profit independent organisation that offers specialist advice on the diversification of services at rural pubs and ways publicans can support their local communities. The campaign sees two industries, pubs and the arts, which are among the sectors most badly hit by the pandemic, join forces in a positive collaboration.
A “National Poem of Thanks to Our Nation’s Publicans” has also been released. The poem is called The Public House and has been written and performed by poet and actress Alexandra Ewing, the daughter of a former publican.
John Longden, chief executive of Pub is The Hub, said: “Despite the huge worries and challenges to their businesses that publicans have faced since the start of the covid-19 pandemic, and continue to endure with this current lockdown, they and their teams have worked tirelessly and selflessly to help support others and keep them safe.
“We all wanted to do something to say a special thank you and recognise their efforts.”
Makoha, whose debut book Kingdom of Gravity was chosen by a national newspaper as one of the best books of 2017, said: “There are certain places that are fabrics of society- your pub, your barbershop, your local bakery. They make the journey of living enjoyable.
“My hope is that my poem captures some of the joy we have been unable to share with each other in person and gives people hope that we will return to those good times.”
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