140 jobs safeguarded as hotel group secures loan

John and Gail Crooks

A group of Derbyshire restaurant hotels has secured a six-figure Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) loan from Lloyds Bank.

The Boar’s Head in Draycott-in-the-Clay, The Lion Hotel in Belper and The Littleover Lodge Hotel in Littleover are owned and run by John Crooks, his wife Gail and their five children.

John bought The Boar’s Head back in 1984, a building originally part of the Vernon estate, which he transformed into a 23-bedroom hotel with an a la carte restaurant to seat 80.

The family business now employs 140 people across its three sites, which also attract thousands of people every year through its wedding and conferencing facilities.

The business has had to temporarily close its doors to customers and furlough its staff.

John Crooks said: “This is the most challenging time our business has faced but we know we’re not alone. Pubs, restaurants and hotels across the region are feeling the same effects that we are and planning for the future is particularly difficult given the uncertainty surrounding when we’ll be able to open our doors again.

“We must remain optimistic and we’re doing everything we can to ensure that we’re ready to provide our customers with the quality and experience they have come to expect from us, when the time comes. Lloyds Bank has done a great job in helping us make sure we have the financial support we need to be in a position to welcome our customers back.”

Adam Hartshorne, relationship manager at Lloyds Bank, said: “John and his family have built a fantastic business over the last 36 years. The three restaurant hotels are each a part of the back-bone of their respective local scenes, providing wonderful food and accommodation for holidaymakers and businesses alike.

“The hospitality trade has been hit hard by the pandemic and we recognise that businesses like this are in urgent need of financial support. We’re committed to helping firms tackle the impact of COVID-19 and want to support businesses in preparing for what the future holds.”