Livingston community pub, the Tower Bar, has launched a new community initiative in order to serve and support locals during the continued COVID-19 pandemic, following the Government’s advice for the public to stay at home.

Known locally as the ‘winter maintenance scheme’, the initiative is managed by community pub partners, Frank McAlister and Fiona McLeod, who have managed the Livingston pub for the past two and a half years. Due to recent bad weather around the Livingston area, leaving the pavements iced over and consequently dangerous to walk on safely, Frank jumped into action and took the initiative to begin clearing and de-icing the pavements and driveways of elderly and vulnerable residents, in order to help keep them safe during the sustained winter weather. Following a post on the Tower Bar Facebook page advertising the scheme, Frank received a number of messages from the local community and regulars at the pub requesting to take part and support the scheme, bringing the total number of volunteers to more than thirty. As a result, Frank and his team have managed to clear over thirty driveways and counting since launching the initiative in January.

The pub is owned by Hawthorn, the community pub company, which owns more than 700 pubs across Scotland, England and Wales.

The winter maintenance scheme is the second initiative launched by the Tower Bar and is preceded by the Towers Covid Action Group. Set up at the beginning of the pandemic by the Tower Bar, the group, which is still active within the community, aims to support the local residents in any capacity needed, from collecting groceries for shielding residents, making emergency repairs to boilers and other appliances, and collecting prescriptions for those unable to leave their houses safely. The initiative, comprised of the Tower Bar staff, regulars and community volunteers, recently received recognition from the Scottish government, following a motion put forward by local MSP, Neil Findlay.

Frank said: “The Coronavirus is affecting communities and businesses across the country, and in times like this, it is important that we all come together and do what we can to help one another. We believe our pub is a focal point for locals, something that becomes especially important during difficult times. We are more than happy to roll our sleeves up and do what is needed in order to serve our community, and the amount of other locals volunteering to get involved is testament to how close-knit this community really is.”

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