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Pub opens community café to welcome lonely residents

PUBLISHED: 11:59 10 December 2019 | UPDATED: 11:59 10 December 2019

Sue and Joe Massey at the Red Lion in Needham, near Harleston, with Megan Harfent-Brown. Picture: Pub is The Hub

Sue and Joe Massey at the Red Lion in Needham, near Harleston, with Megan Harfent-Brown. Picture: Pub is The Hub

Pub is The Hub

A new café has opened its doors in a village pub aiming to serve up some community spirit to local people who might otherwise feel isolated and cut off.

Sue and Joe Massey at the Red Lion in Needham, near Harleston, with Terry Stork. Picture: Pub is The HubSue and Joe Massey at the Red Lion in Needham, near Harleston, with Terry Stork. Picture: Pub is The Hub

The Red Lion at Needham, near Harleston, has opened a new accessible café in the pub with support from rural pub champions, Pub is The Hub.

Owners of the pub, Sue and Joe Massey have created the new social hub for their rural community to help combat loneliness and isolation.

The café is open from 10.30am on Tuesday to Friday each week serving hot drinks and cakes and for people with mobility issues. It can be accessed by a new specially installed ramp into the pub.

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Sue Massey said: "There is nothing else in the area for miles around and we wanted to provide somewhere for village residents to come during the day.

"Sadly many of them have mobility issues so a ramp into the pub was an essential part of the project. We are hoping to expand the range of food that we have on offer if the café is successful."

The Masseys have been running the 19th century Red Lion for 11 years in a family business that they run with their son, Michael. Alongside their thriving food and drink trade, the family have a large garden, a play area and run a campsite for visitors.

After coming up with the idea of a community café, Sue and Joe met with Pub is The Hub regional advisor Terry Stork to discuss their plans.

They subsequently applied for a grant towards the cost of the changes through Pub is the Hub, a 'not-for-profit' organisation dedicated to improving community services and activities, and Norfolk County Council's Community Services Grant.

Mr Stork, from Pub is The Hub, said: "Sue, Joe and Michael do everything they can to put the Red Lion at the heart of the community. They support local businesses and employ local people so a café for the community was the next obvious step. It will be a valuable village asset for those residents who don't get out and about very much."


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