After the Great South West economic plan – Simon Jupp launches his vision.

“I’d encourage anyone currently looking for work to take advantage of the opportunities available. Everyone else can do their bit by visiting their local pubs, restaurants, cafés, bars and hotels and supporting them by enjoying a drink or a meal.”

(With scary photo)

No mention of the hospitality industry being seasonal and poorly paid. An example of “I’m all right Jack”? – Owl

Banging the drum for hospitality in East Devon is such an important thing to do

Simon Jupp www.devonlive.com

I have always enjoyed the comforting surroundings of a traditional British boozer. The ambiance, the local chatter, the chance to catch up with friends over a pint and a decent plate of homecooked food. Our pubs are something to be proud of and must be protected.

The hospitality sector has faced almighty challenges over the last year or so. Pubs, bars, cafés, hotels and restaurants have all endured a rollercoaster of a ride as restrictions were put in place to tackle the pandemic.

Venues across East Devon have shown flexibility, ingenuity, and vigour in adapting to the temporary rules to ensure a safe and secure experience for us all.

We have a part to play too. We should be patient when it comes to table service and to understand that staff are doing the best they can to take and deliver orders in good time.

MPs Neil Parish and Simon Jupp at The Greyhound Country Inn at Fenny Bridges.

MPs Neil Parish and Simon Jupp at The Greyhound Country Inn at Fenny Bridges.

Being asked to use your smartphone to register being in a venue or reminded to use a face covering when moving around might annoy some customers, but the staff are simply doing what is being asked of them until the restrictions are removed. Sadly, as we learnt earlier this week, these rules will be in place for a few more weeks.

I have spoken to several owners and managers in the hospitality sector locally and I know finding staff is becoming another challenge that needs to be overcome.

Next time you are out in your part of Devon, look at the recruitment signs on display outside pubs and restaurants seeking staff. Local online websites are also carrying adverts from businesses looking to hire people. It’s not until you start looking that you see the demand is quickly growing.

Hospitality is the backbone of East Devon. Its prominence and contribution to the local economy is vital. I sometimes feel that we do not properly acknowledge the importance of this sector in terms of how staff are viewed or valued. By this, I don’t necessarily mean by their employers, but by us as customers.

In countries such as France or Spain, working as serving staff or behind a bar is viewed as a lifelong vocation. Sadly, I think some people in the UK wrongly view such jobs as simply menial or a stopgap. They simply aren’t. A lifelong rewarding career is possible. We need to change the perception and recognise how hospitality staff are not only necessary to have a vibrant and successful local economy, but also act as ambassadors for East Devon whenever they interactive with a customer or a tourist.

My door is always open to any business in the constituency that requires support or assistance. I am keen to hear of any ideas of how we can beat the challenge of finding and retaining staff in the hospitality sector.

As we head towards summer and hopefully some more fine weather, I plan to visit as many pubs as possible in the patch. I will also be launching a dedicated website featuring all the pubs in East Devon which I hope will allow you to discover a gem or two that you currently may not be aware of.

I am committed to doing what I can to support any hospitality venue or business of any nature in my constituency as I’m acutely aware many financial support schemes taper off soon. If you would like to speak with me or organise a visit, please make contact via my website www.simonjupp.org.uk

Banging the drum for hospitality in East Devon is such an important thing to do. I’d encourage anyone currently looking for work to take advantage of the opportunities available. Everyone else can do their bit by visiting their local pubs, restaurants, cafés, bars and hotels and supporting them by enjoying a drink or a meal.

We have some of the best hospitality businesses in the country, so let’s come together and give them a helping hand when they need it most.

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