Coronavirus: east end pub team to help local groups

Billy Gold of the Hielan Jessie

A GLASGOW east end publican is reaching out to help local groups during the coronavirus closure period.

Billy Gold, owner of the Hielan Jessie on Gallowgate, has contacted Calton Area Association, which works with a number of local organisations, after some of the pub’s staff volunteered to help those in need during the lockdown.

“I’ve got a great loyal team here – two of the staff have got 41 years’ service between them – and after the announcement that we had to close some of them said they wanted to volunteer, picking up shopping or prescriptions for people, things like that,” he said.

“I will be paying the staff using the job retention scheme and I’ve applied for the grant.

“We just want to see if we can do anything to help. We’re part of the community and we want to do what we can.

“I’m speaking to local groups to see what we can do to help because we’re all in this together.”

Billy, whose family has owned the pub since 1986, is also keeping in touch with his regular customers and doing what he can to help them.

And he’s looking ahead and planning for the reopening of the pub.

“Apart from a couple of days for refurbishments, this is the first time the Hielan Jessie has been closed so it is strange – for me, for the staff, for our customers; and for the whole trade – that’s the thing, the licensed trade isn’t marching on and leaving me behind, this is affecting everyone,” said Billy.

“I feel a sense of resignation now; I’ve accepted what’s happened and it’s now about looking ahead to when we reopen.

“It’s given us all a chance to look at ourselves, our business and what Scotland can do better as a destination.

“My dad made a lot of sacrifices and worked hard when he started the pub but through thick and thin – and there was a lot of thin – he kept it going. I am determined that the Hielan Jessie will survive this. I owe it to my customers, to my amazing staff, to my dad and to our trade.”