Unique Corsham pub secures funding to keep trading

The Flemish Weaver[2]

Quirky Wiltshire pub The Flemish Weaver has secured funding from Barclays through the Bounce Back Loan Scheme to keep trading through the Covid-19 period and, on July 7, reopened their doors once again.

The pub, which has been a feature of Corsham since 1625, was taken over by owner Robert Carter and his team just over three years ago. The public house, which is full of character – and Objet d’art is a pillar of the community and widely popular with a range of different customers in the area. Despite being a “tiny little pub” as self-described by owner Robert, before coronavirus The Flemish Weaver was growing in profits by 25% each year and was booming with new clientele.

However, coronavirus has shaken the hospitality industry and The Flemish Weaver felt the impact of having to temporarily close their doors to their loyal locals. The team applied for funding from Barclays through the government-backed Bounce Back Loan scheme, which successfully helped to ease the pressure on their cash flow.

With funding in place and a view on the future of the pub, Robert began to look for sustainable ways to cheer up the community, whilst supplementing the financial side of the business. From Sunday roasts wrapped in tin-foil and taken away in suitcases, to pints being poured into milk cartons out of pub windows, The Flemish Weaver has pivoted their business to ensure they were able to reopen again.

The team were busy putting social distancing plans in place for when this day came – following the guidance that pubs could reopen from July 4 – with separate garden booths, one-way systems, bells to communicate to staff, buckets to collect glasses and infra-red temperature testers. After three months of being closed, they have been looking forward to welcoming the local community back to the pub once again.

Robert, reflecting on the past few months, said: “If it wasn’t for the Bounce Back Loan, we wouldn’t be here as a business now – we’d be gone. The application process was as easy as counting to five. So many people have rallied around us prepared to give their expertise and business advice. It feels like this sort of thing brings the best out of people. I’d like to give my wholehearted thanks to the community and say keep calm, because we’re carrying on at The Flemish Weaver!”

Graham Austin, Business Banking Industry Lead for Hospitality & Leisure, said: “The hospitality trade has felt the full force of the COVID-19 measures, so it’s great to see a light at the end of the tunnel for a number of businesses which have now been able to re-open. This is just one example of where Barclays has supported hospitality businesses like The Flemish Weaver to help them get back on track as soon as lockdown restrictions have eased and as safely as possible.”