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Gloucestershire Business News

Hospitality businesses celebrate end of lockdown with unique auction

A collaborative of independent Cheltenham businesses have launched an auction of unique hospitality experiences to celebrate the end of Lockdown 3.

After a year of closures and limited openings, 34 members of TURF Cheltenham launched "The Very Very First" Auction on March 31.

TURF Cheltenham was created just over a year ago, and it seemed only right that members celebrated what has become a dynamic and supportive collaborative by offering friends and future guests unique opportunities to celebrate the end of Lockdown 3.

With over 60 lots on offer from 37 venues, you'll be able to bid on experiences that include a Movers & Shakers Garden Party for 30; the first T-off at the Lumiere Charity FootGolf tournament; an unlimited coffee pass at Moosh; a coffee masterclass with The Find and Pak Wai from 288 Bar & Wok cooking authentic Chinese cuisine for a party at your home!

Mike Huysinga, owner of The Royal and The Exmouth Arms, said: "The reason I love this auction is because we want to give our customers a great welcome back to our fantastic venues. They have had a tough time and we want to show them what they have missed.

"Collaborating with the other TURF members just makes it even more special and unique. It provides all our customers the opportunity to experience their favourite places once again and maybe even try some they have never been to before."

Rob Metz, owner of Café Boho, said: "I got the idea from a friend of mine back in Holland. He told me about a group of businesses that got together to see how they could get their customers back into their venues once lockdown was over. They wanted this to be something different, something special and very unique and so the auction was created.

"As a member of TURF Cheltenham I just knew we could do this as well. All of us are not just independent hospitality business owners, but also people that are creative and like-minded and would be up for doing something different. After presenting the idea to the group, we formed a small core team and, well, the rest is history I suppose."

Pak Wai Hung, owner of 288 Bar & Wok, said: "Fifteen years ago when I decided to open 288 Bar & Wok, my motivation was to bring joy to people. I've always considered it a privilege that guests entrust us with their dinner. It's this same motivation that continues to this day. When deciding what to offer as a lot for the auction, I wanted something which was completely unique and never been done before by 288 Bar & Wok. Thus, my lot was the opportunity for a restaurant guest to invite me into THEIR kitchen to cook. I'll be cooking traditional Haka and Cantonese dishes; the dishes that I grew up eating and which I now cook for my family. I want the winning bidder to taste truly authentic Haka home cooking."

Whilst the focus of the auction is to support TURF independent hospitality venues, the group is keen to give something back to the community and support a local charity, so 5p in every £1 bid in the Auction is going to National Star.

Monica Farthing, Fundraiser at National Star, said: "Never in National Star's 54-year-old history has the need for our support been greater as during this pandemic. Our frontline nursing, care, therapies and education teams have gone above and beyond to keep the vulnerable young people at National Star safe, well and happy. We can't thank TURF enough for choosing to support National Star through their auction."

For further information on how it works visit: www.turfcheltenham.co.uk/the-very-very-first- auction All auction details will be updated through TURF Cheltenham, and TURF members, social channels: Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/turfcheltenham/  Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/turfcheltenham  Twitter: https://twitter.com/TURFcheltenham 

Rob, who estimates he's lost over £50,000 in the past year, is looking forward to opening his doors to customers once again: "I can't wait to open and to see everybody and to see their happy faces when they have their pancakes or waffles," he said.

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