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The Caledonia pub ‘humbled’ by flood of support after ‘keep the old girl afloat’ plea

2 weeks ago

The Caledonia pub ‘humbled’ by flood of support after ‘keep the old girl afloat’ plea
The Caledonia pub on the corner of Catharine Street and Caledonia Street. Image provided by: The Caledonia

Much-loved Liverpool pub The Caledonia has been flooded with messages of support after its licensee posted a plea on social media asking for help ‘to keep the old girl afloat’.

Laura King, who’s run The Caledonia in the Georgian Quarter for the past 14 years, said she was humbled and overwhelmed by the reaction.

She shared a message with followers asking for ‘a little bit of your kindness to help us fight this current storm’ after struggling to survive an enormous increase in running costs.

“The response was truly overwhelming and it’s the morale boost you need when you’re facing a situation like we are,” says Laura.

“This has obviously been going on for a long time and I’ve tried to put more effort into everything to get more people through the door and none of it was working. I thought, what am I going to do to even make it through the next few months?

“I think there’s this idea that businesses like ours that are established and older will always be fine and they’ll weather the storm so I wanted people to know what it was really like and not just for me, for a lot of my colleagues in the industry.

Live music at The Cali. Image provided by: The Caledonia
Live music at The Cali. Image provided by: The Caledonia

“I thought a problem shared is a problem halved, I’ve got to at least try to explain what’s going on and see if there’s any help out there. There’s only so much I can work and so many ideas me and my team can have so I just thought honesty is the best policy. 

“I expected a couple of hundred likes and maybe a couple more people would come in for a pint, but I think it resonated with people.

“I didn’t know quite how much people loved the pub until this post, and to see how wide it spread and how many different people not only liked it but commented and offered support, as well as all the words of encouragement, means a lot. 

“It’s taken me from being scared and maybe thinking it’s time to call it a day, to remembering why I’ve been so resistant over all this time to ever call it a day and why I do what I do. It’s not for the money, it’s been a while since I’ve personally taken a wage, it’s because I believe in pubs and what they do for people; the joy and community they bring.”

Laura says The Cali, on the corner of Caledonia Street and Catharine Street, has battled against three huge challenges in her time there, but cost of living crisis has been the one which has brought it closest to the brink.

“We were just on the tail-end of one financial crisis in 2008/9, then we had coronavirus and now this cost of living crisis. This has been the absolute worst and I think part of the problem is how closely it’s come off the back of the pandemic and what that did to everyone.

Image provided by: The Caledonia pub
Image provided by: The Caledonia pub

“No-one’s got any reserves left, everyone had to spend all their money, so there’s no back-up and there’s been no chance to save one. Then the cost of everything has gone up, and it’s not just going up every few months which would be hard enough, the price of stock is going up every week.

“The energy price rises were a huge shock, and even though that’s settling back down for a small business an extra thousand pounds a month on energy permanently is a big deal. 

“On top of that you’ve got everything else but there’s only so much I can charge for a pint. We resisted putting up our prices for as long as we could and when we did we deliberately kept some things cheaper than we can really afford to because we serve a community so we have to make sure that there is still something for everybody.”

Laura says things have already picked up in the couple of days since she posted her appeal.

“The Cali isn’t the most pristine on social because it’s just me doing it with a bit of help from my team, and I worry that in the world of social everyone goes for glossy and perfect, but I think this proves they don’t. It’s as much about heart and being genuine. 

“I think sometimes, as much as they love you, people forget about you when a new pub opens. What this post has done is remind people that we’re here and we need them too.”

For more on The Caledonia click here.

For the latest news in Liverpool click here.



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