Pub toasts crowdfunder success

Ye Olde Rose and Crown in Walthamstow is jointly owned by Andrew Yon, Aaron Clingham, Joanna Simmonett, Viv Barrett and Bun Constantinou
Ye Olde Rose and Crown in Walthamstow is jointly run by Andrew Yon, Aaron Clingham, Joanna Simmonett, Viv Barrett and Bun Constantinou

Ye Olde Rose and Crown in Hoe Street raised £35,000 to help it survive, reports James Cracknell

A popular Walthamstow pub has had an “overwhelming” response to its appeal for help from the community.

Ye Olde Rose and Crown Theatre Pub in Hoe Street launched a crowdfunder in June hoping to raise £20,000 to help pay the debts it had accumulated since the start of the pandemic.

The crowdfunder greatly surpassed expectations, meeting its target in just ten hours and going on to raise more than £35,000. Ye Olde Rose and Crown is now planning to re-open on Saturday 4th July, the day government restrictions are lifted.

Joanna Simmonett, one of the pub’s five co-owners, told the Echo: “The crowdfunder has been amazing. The speed that we hit our target, and then going beyond; it was overwhelming. It was the like the community was giving us a huge hug.”

The pub’s future is not yet secure, however, as the rules around re-opening mean that it can only operate at about half of its usual capacity. The pub is famous for its theatre productions, but with these still on hold the upstairs theatre space is being re-purposed to provide extra seating for punters.

Unlike many pubs, Ye Olde Rose and Crown lacks outdoor space. Joanna said: “We are in the process of re-arranging the pub to be able to utilise the space we’ve got, because we don’t have any outdoor space. We are sadly dismantling our theatre because we can’t have any live performances and we need to open up our capacity.

“We might be able to open at half our usual capacity. We can’t have people standing. We’ll need more members of staff available to take drinks to people’s tables and to take people’s details when they come in. It will cost us more – but we want to open for the community because they have been so supportive of us.”

Ye Olde Rose and Crown’s landlord is Stonegate Pub Company, which deferred rent payments during the lockdown period, but Joanna said they were disappointed not to be offered any rent reductions. “Stella [Creasy, Walthamstow MP] is fighting our case to force the government to stop landlords treating pubs badly,” added Joanna.

The crowdfunder for Ye Olde Rose and Crown runs until Thursday 16th July and the pub itself is opening its doors again on Saturday 4th July, from 12pm, on a first-come first-served basis.

A spokesperson for Ei Commercial Properties, part of the Stonegate group, said: “We deferred tenants’ rents during lockdown in order to assist with cash flow as well as ensuring they were kept up to date with and were accessing the relevant government support where applicable.

“We have also informed our commercial tenants that they have up to two years to repay their arrears from when pubs re-open, which is in line with the recently issued Covid-19 government code of practice.”