Paul Dexter and Keith Goddard, publicans of The Old Swan, on The Square in Earls Barton, have been awarded the British Institute of Innkeeping’s (BII) Heart of the Community Award in recognition for their hard work supporting his community during lockdown from March to July this year.


Paul and Keith launched their ‘Pub in a Box’ initiative at the start of lockdown to help stay in touch with their community and to boost morale across the village. The two then used the money they made from the sales to fund cooking homemade stews to donate to the most vulnerable people in the area.


At the campaign’s peak, Paul, Kevin and their team of volunteers delivered upwards of 450 free meals per week to those in need.


The Heart of the Community award is uniquely not about competing companies or individuals against each other and recognises all those the industry body believes have gone above and beyond for their communities. Paul and Kevin are one of just 43 national recipients to have been recognised so far this year.


Paul said: “We’re so proud and honoured to have been awarded this accolade by the British Institute of Innkeeping! Kevin and I want to say a huge thank you to everyone in our amazing team for all their dedication and continued commitment to helping us be the pub we are today.


“It was a no brainer for us to make sure everyone in our community had a hot hearty meal during lockdown and it was thanks to everyone who supported us by buying our ‘Pub-in-a-Box’ boxes, that we were able to do that to the extent that we did. I am incredibly proud to be part of this community and we’ll do everything we can to continue to support everyone here again.


“We’re obviously devastated to close our doors again, but we will continue to be here to support the vulnerable in the area, and we want to make sure that no one feels alone as we move into the second national lockdown. And – we can’t wait to welcome back our customers on 2 December!”


The Old Swan, 8 The Square, Earls Barton, Northampton NN6 0NA