A PAIR of publicans are offering a “pub in a box” takeaway in a campaign to keep their local alive and kicking.

Ian Wilson and his partner Philip Rees from the Queen Victoria pub in Rottingdean want to make sure regulars aren’t missing out on what the pub brings to the community.

They’ve tried it all, from portable pints and pork scratchings to recreating the friendly atmosphere over the phone.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson will make an announcement today about when pubs will be able to reopen amid the coronavirus crisis. It is not expected to be until July 4 at the earliest.

But the Queen Victoria is determined to be a hub for the community whether or not punters can be there in person.

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When lockdown was first announced, the pub set about supporting the most vulnerable who were unable to venture out.

It set up a not-for-profit scheme cooking fresh hot meals for needy customers and has now delivered more than 300 of them with the help of a volunteer team from the tight-knit community.

On top of this, Ian and Philip have worked closely with churches in the village and set up a hotline so people can call for support or a friendly chat.

They said the move was made to promote positive mental health during a challenging period.

In addition to the community services, the pub has also been running a very popular takeaway service. The range of dishes has been specially created to travel well.

They said there is an emphasis on honest, quality cooking that champions seasonal and locally sourced ingredients from Sussex.

This has helped keep the supply chain in place and support local producers.

Now, the Queen Victoria has launched what it calls a “pub in a box”, promising regulars a slice of their local to enjoy at home.

The offer includes draft beer “at off-licence prices” and a roast dinner.

Ian said: “When lockdown commenced, we were determined to identify ways we could continue supporting the local community.

“It’s been very rewarding providing meals for vulnerable members of the community, something we couldn’t have done without the help of our local volunteers, so I want to give a massive thank you to each and every one of them.

“I think it’s more important than ever that people award themselves a little treat and something to look forward to while in lockdown.

“We hope that our takeaway offer has delivered a little slice of happiness for our customers.

“For me, the pub’s position is at the heart of the communities it serves, so while we’re delighted to have continued our service while in lockdown, we’re very much excited and ready for reopening and welcoming back customers new and old.”