Books & beer!

Oxfordshire publican Dan Redfern is opening a library and IT hub at his pub The Cherry Tree Inn in Stoke Row to help support local residents as the country moves out of lockdown.

Dan Redfern, who runs the Brakspear pub with his partner Natalie Redfern, decided to transform a small room into the library, with the help and a Community Services Fund grant from Pub is The Hub, the not-for-profit organisation that helps pubs to diversify and provide essential local services.

The couple stepped in to host the library at The Cherry Tree Inn after a number of local residents asked if it could be moved from the village hall to allow for greater access and longer opening hours.  The village hall was only open at certain times meaning access to the library was restricted.

The new library and IT hub, which will open on 17 May, when Government restrictions are eased, has over 300 books including around 60 specialist cookery and gardening books donated by Dan and his chef Matthew Allen.

The IT hub will enable local residents and visitors to get online with a designated iPad and volunteers will give help and advice for those who are not IT savvy.

Dan said: “This room provides a great environment for our regulars to come in and have a coffee and get a book to read. The library and IT hub will be really important in helping many local residents to socialise after such a long period of isolation and lockdown.

He added: “Since we took on the pub in 2018 we have become the hub of this local area offering excellent food and drink as well as a place for our locals to meet and socialise. We are also planning to offer IT help to local retired residents as well as coffee mornings and even a small cinema when restrictions allow.”

Pub is The Hub advisor Bill Affleck said: “This library and IT hub will be an important asset for the village, especially as we return to more normality after lockdown. It will allow people to connect both socially and online.

“Dan and Natalie have really helped people in the local area and have more exciting plans for the pub moving forward.”

The pub has seen residents flocking back after it reopened on 12 April with an outside marquee allowing for people to return to the pub to enjoy a meal or a drink in a Covid secure manner.