The new landlady at The Jovial Monk, St Andrew’s Ridge, Swindon has been behind the bar for two years, but now she’s celebrating her name being above the front door too.
Debbie Young has taken over the license at The Jovial Monk at St Andrew’s Ridge Village Centre after joining the pub as a part time barmaid two years’ ago. She said: “I started working on Sunday lunchtimes and one evening a week, but I loved it so much that my hours grew. When the previous landlord decided to move on, I jumped at the opportunity to take over. This is an amazing pub in the centre of a great community which is set to grow and grow.”
The Jovial Monk was built and opened by Arkell’s Brewery in 1999, to support the northern expansion of Swindon. The community is now expanding again as around 400 new houses are being built across the road from the pub.
That’s OK with Debbie, though. “More houses means more customers,” she said. “The new residents will find themselves in the centre of a ready-made local community, with the pub at its heart.”
In fact Debbie wants the pub to become home to lots more local groups, from the local WI to yoga or other exercise classes. She commented: “We’ve got a huge conservatory which I don’t charge community groups to use. There’s no community hall at St Andrew’s Ridge, but The Jovial Monk is a good substitute.”
Debbie has also re-established the pub’s pool team and is now calling for locals to come forward and set up a darts team.
Born in Hampshire into an army family, she travelled around the world before returning to Swindon, where her mum’s family were based. “I trained as a nurse, and in fact working behind a bar funded my studies in the early days,” she said. “I love running The Jovial Monk. It’s the only proper pub this side of Swindon. Here you can come in, watch the football, see your mates and have a laugh.”
Debbie is relaunching the kitchen at the pub and from September Sunday lunches and pub food will be on the menu.