Thu, 04 Jun 2020
A NEWBURY chippy has made a generous donation to West Berkshire’s homeless ahead of its re-opening.
The owner of Avon Fish Bar in Gaywood Drive, Gary Marsh, and manager Paul Butler delivered more than £150-worth of food to the Mercure West Grange Hotel in Midgham on Monday.
The hotel has been accommodating rough sleepers, homeless people and those at risk of homelessness during the coronavirus pandemic.
Mr Marsh said he wanted to do something nice to help the homeless and to coincide with the re-opening of the business today (Thursday).
The Avon Fish Bar has been closed since the start of the coronavirus lockdown
Mr Marsh said: “I furloughed all my staff for safety reasons.
“We’re probably one of the last ones to reopen for the safety of staff and customers.
“After 10 weeks of closure, it was obvious that everybody else was reopening so my hand was really forced to reopen at that stage.
“If it was non-financial, I would probably still be closed.
“As we all know, the numbers out there, not here, but elsewhere, are still quite high and the death rate and infection rate is still quite high.
“Ten weeks of not trading is a big hit.”
Mr Marsh said the business had secured a grant through the rates system which had softened the blow and the Government job retention scheme had “been a Godsend” for his staff and he had not made any redundancies.
He said: “It’s the same as pubs and everybody.
“We have all been hit hard by it, but we are reopening and hoping to reopen to queues of people.”