Despite their pubs being currently closed, many publicans across the North West are spreading some cheer to people in their local communities, during these challenging times, by sharing a heartwarming poem about pubs written and performed by a poet from Liverpool.
The poem, which has been specially commissioned for pubs in the North West by arts project INN CROWD, is called ‘PUBLIC’ and has been written and performed by poet Madelaine Kinsella, from Merseyside. Her poem is part of a national campaign called ‘Winter Warmers’ that aims to help bring some cheer and hope to publicans, their staff and their local communities to help connect people during this difficult start to 2021 with this current lockdown.
Madelaine’s poem is part of a national collection of seven individual poems about pubs in the ‘Winter Warmers’ campaign, written by poets from six regions across England.
Postcards of positivity
Many publicans across the region are taking part in ‘Winter Warmers’ by sharing Madelaine’s poem on social media and on posters outside their pubs. Selected pubs are also sharing postcards featuring her poem with people in their local communities. They are using the postcards to help keep them connected with their locals 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.
‘Pubs are social hubs’
Madelaine, who is editor of poetry zine JARG, said: “Pubs have been hard hit during the pandemic, and in turn, it has been hard on the locals they support with their services. It’s not a case of being desperate for a pint during lockdown but a need for pubs as social hubs in our local community.”
She adds: “I am hoping my poem has resonance with pubs and their local communities, that it reaches people that don’t normally read poetry, and that they enjoy it. This is a poem for people. For the pubs and their local communities. Pubs are art. Their locals are the most important artists.”
Watch Madelaine, who this year will launch her debut poetry pamphlet Scouse Brows, published by Wrecking Balls Press, perform ‘PUBLIC’ here: inncrowd.org.uk/2021/01/13/madelaine-kinsella-public
Enjoy all the poems in the ‘Winter Warmers’ collection here: inncrowd.org.uk/winter-warmers
Praise for resilient publicans
A ‘National Poem of Thanks to Our Nation’s Publicans’ has also been released, as part of the campaign, to thank publicans and their staff for their resilience and continuing support of their local communities during the Covid-19 pandemic.
During this lockdown many pubs have again been offering essential services to people in their local communities, including phone support to those at risk of loneliness, pop up grocery shops, takeaway and delivery food and meals on wheels for the elderly and those financially stretched.
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.”
Positive collaboration of arts and pubs
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, and INN CROWD which works with pubs to provide them access to professional live literature, which is specially commissioned for pub audiences.
The ‘Winter Warmers’ campaign sees two industries, pubs and the arts, which are among the sectors most detrimentally impacted by the pandemic join forces in a positive collaboration.
INN CROWD’s Dawn Badland said: “These two sectors, which have been among the hardest hit in this pandemic, make an invaluable contribution to our society, and it is brilliant to be able to come together with Pub is The Hub to do something positive for the publicans and artists working in them.”