WHEN a village pub was taken over by its local community seven years ago it became an asset in more ways than one.

No fewer than 170 people invested in the Rose & Crown in 2013 to ensure it became part of Slaley’s fixtures and fittings.

But it’s true value as a community asset has been tested to the max during the coronavirus pandemic – and it has passed with flying colours.

Like all other pubs across the district, the Rose & Crown was forced to close, in its traditional form, during lockdown.

Manager Tracey Weatherley and her dedicated team responded by providing a takeaway food service for the village, which included delivering meals to doorsteps.

The pub reopened on July 4, after taking the necessary steps to ensure it complied with the government’s Covid-19 regulations.

Tracey said the pub was doing everything possible to welcome the community back inside.

“It’s a gradual process,” she said. “We have to respect the fact the not everyone has started going back to pubs yet, and some people aren’t leaving their homes at the moment. We’ve done everything that has been asked of us in terms of Covid-19, and just want to let everyone know that they are welcome back. Those who have been, have used our beer garden to eat meals when the weather has allowed.”

The Rose & Crown has sacrificed about a third of its seating to accommodate social distancing. It has signed up to track and trace, and has installed a perspex screen at the bar.

The pub is increasing its opening hours, while its 14-strong staffing team are gradually returning from the government’s furlough scheme.

Known for its delicious food as well as a fine selection of beers, real ales, and wine, the Rose & Crown complements Slaley’s other community venture, the village shop.

“We’re one of the community hubs in Slaley,” said Tracey, who has worked at the pub for 20 years, and has been manager for the past six years.

“We’re fortunate in Slaley that we also have a church, a school, and a community hall. “Throughout the pandemic the whole village really has come together to help and support each other.”

The historic Grade II listed building dates back to 1675. It was named in the Guardian’s top 50 pubs in Britain in 2018.

Tracey hopes it will continue to serve the local community for many years to come.

“We’re all in the process of working towards normality again,” she added. “If you want to come and see us, there will be a warm welcome and your safety will be our number one priority. We are doing everything possible in that regard.

“Like myself, other staff have been here for some time. We know the community well and we want to provide a great service in a safe environment.

Further information, including opening hours, can be found at www.roseandcrownslaley.co.uk or at the Rose & Crown Slaley page on Facebook.