Local food heroes of lockdown: The Blue Bell at Desford

The door to The Blue Bell Inn & Lodge in Desford, Leicestershire, is temporarily closed but the pub remains at the heart of its community.

Michael Cosgrove has run the Blue Bell since 2015 and despite the pandemic crisis, he’s busier than ever.

“The pub is the heart of the village and at times like these the people need each other and a central point,” he says. “We have tried to pull everyone together. We’ve set up a shop to support the village and we’re using our suppliers to source items like pasta, bread and milk. Many in the village are vulnerable so we’re delivering where we can and social distancing when people are collecting. It’s kept me busier than the pub did some days.”

Michael is also putting on virtual nights through Facebook Live, including quiz and bingo nights. “We’ve had such a great response,” he says. “People are sat at home bored, wishing they could be down the pub with friends, so it seemed right to put what I can on for them. The events are not polished, and I’m learning as I go, but everyone is so supportive and getting involved – it highlights what a great community we have here in Desford.”

Michael says: ”I want to thank all of the volunteers who have been helping out with the community shop and everyone in the village who is supporting the pub in these difficult times, it really means a lot.”

Find out more about The Blue Bell’s community shop and virtual events here.

Matt Wright
The author:

Matt lives in Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire. He is passionate about the independent food & drink sector and founded Great Food Club in 2010 after being inspired by local producers near his home town.