FORMER employees of a now closed Durham pub have expressed their disappointment of how they found out they were unemployed via a WhatsApp message.

Staff at The Gate pub in Framwellgate Moor, Durham, lost their jobs on Monday (May 16) after it was revealed that the pub had closed with ‘immediate effect’ following a message from the management on the same day.

Despite only opening on February 18, 2022, after a £450,000 revamp, following a change of name from the previous Happy Wanderer guise, the pub only lasted three months.

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In a WhatsApp message to around 15 staff, the pub’s management stated: “It is with a heavy heart and much disappointment that we are closing the pub with immediate effect.

“We have met some great people but unfortunately, we do not have any more money to invest, and Star Bars have shown no cooperation or support with regards to keeping the pub going.

“We are sorry and wish all of you the very best for the future.”  

The Northern Echo: The Gate in Framwellgate, Durham. Picture: THE GATE.The Gate in Framwellgate, Durham. Picture: THE GATE.

Now that the closure has taken place, one ex-employee at The Gate has lifted the lid on what it was like in the last 24 hours of working there – including the “crushing disappointment" of having no money coming in.

The ex-staff member, who doesn’t wish to be named, received the message like every other member of the team, but, in that moment, wondered about how their bills would be paid and family looked after.

Despite having “few and far between shifts” in the last few weeks before the pub’s closure, due to the venue going through a quiet spell, the anonymous worker had just booked a holiday.

The Northern Echo: Staff were let go via WhatsApp. Picture: NORTHERN ECHO.Staff were let go via WhatsApp. Picture: NORTHERN ECHO.

Speaking to The Northern Echo, they said: “It went from 100-0 in the space of a few days. We were told that there were gas problems at the pub on the Sunday, but by the Monday we were told that we no longer had jobs to go back to.

“People had speculations about the closure because it was often so quiet, but it only opened in February this year – we were expecting it to run longer."

The Northern Echo: The Gate in Durham. Picture: THE GATE.The Gate in Durham. Picture: THE GATE.

While losing your job is already bad enough, the ex-employee revealed the speedy nature of losing the job was "a real shaker".

They added: “I wish the management the best, and want to see them succeed, but this move has left some out of work in the community.

"Hopefully I can find work soon." 

While the pub will remain closed for the meantime, the owners of the pub, Star Pubs & Bars, who are part of the Heineken Group, have committed to opening the facility "as soon as possible," while also confirming the departure of the current operator. 

A statement from the company said: “The Gate, Frawellgate Moor, was leased to an independent operator to run as their own business.

"They closed the pub yesterday at short notice. We are working to get it reopened as quickly as possible.”

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