LANDLORDS at an Exminster pub have been raising money to support a local charity. 

Mel Bowden and Scott Reddin, who run the Royal Oak pub, have been steadily organising fund-raising events in support of Westbank Community Health and Care.

Their total has now reached £2,525 thanks to support from the community. 

Staff at the pub partner with Westbank through 2023 and in December 2022 and 2023, Scott and Mel hosted three-course festive lunches to the value of £1,100 for 50 of the charity’s clients. 

They also organised fundraising activities, including a raffle, a donation bucket and the sale of star decorations on the pub’s Christmas tree, bringing in £325 to enable the charity to help more people lead happier, healthier lives and maintain their independence for longer.

Mel, who worked in mental health before taking on the pub, wanted to support a charity that helps the local community. 

She said: ‘Providing a free lunch and welcoming local people into our pub is a way for us to give back to the community and those who most need extra support. 

‘A pub is a vital part of a community, we have many customers who live alone and come in regularly just for the company. Many find walking into a pub alone a daunting experience.

‘By hosting our annual Loneliness Lunch, we hope to encourage people to return knowing that we are a friendly bunch and we are always here for a chat and to lend a friendly ear. 

‘I know from experience how big an impact people’s mental health has on their overall well-being. Something as simple as taking the time to get to know people and listen to their stories can make a huge difference to their day.

‘We’ve enjoyed supporting Westbank this year and putting on community-minded events together. We encourage everyone to remember, we aren’t just here to sell beer, everyone is welcome, and you will never be lonely in your local.’

Katie Elliott, Westbank’s head of fundraising and marketing, said: ‘We would like to thank the whole team at The Royal Oak for supporting us throughout 2023, culminating in a wonderful festive meal at the pub just before Christmas. 

‘They pulled out all the stops to lay on a delicious meal with all the trimmings for our local clients, many of whom live alone and find it difficult to get out and about on their own.

‘Their support has been terrific.’