A PUB company founded in Bournemouth says it has been going all-out to make sure staff feel “a part of something” during long months of lockdown.

Brewhouse and Kitchen has offered its staff “Netflix nights”, physical and mental wellbeing training, tips on personal finance management and more.

Its efforts helped ensure that 92 per cent of its staff returned to their jobs at its 22 pubs after the first national lockdown was lifted last year and it is hoping for similar success this year.

The company – with pubs in Bournemouth and Poole town centres and in Southbourne – took three prizes at the recent British Institute of Innkeeping National Innovation in Training Awards.

It received the Staff Wellbeing Award, Best Apprenticeship Programme and Best Managed Pub Company Training Programme.

Kris Gumbrell, the company’s Bournemouth-based chief executive and co-founder, said: “We need to give people that feeling and sense of being part of something when you’re not going to work every day. We’re nothing without our people.

“We think it’s important to look after people but it’s also important for our guests to know we look after our people. They do care for our staff as much as we do. We needed to make sure our people would come back to us.

“It helped for a pretty successful reopening up to the point where we started to have restrictions applied to us,” he added.

The company organised skills training while staff were furloughed, offered emergency payments to those who had no access to cash, and provided mental health support.

“We’ve had team members who’ve become ill or have been bereaved. We’ve had customers who’ve passed away through Covid,” said Mr Gumbrell.

The awards also recognised the company’s chairmanship of the National Trailblazer Group to develop the first level four brewing apprenticeship in the UK. Its own scheme is now recognised as the leading provider of brewing apprenticeships in the UK, Mr Gumbrell said.

The prize for Best Managed Pub Company Training Programme recognised its rolling programme called Brewing Happiness, which aims to create a positive and guest-focused culture.