New tenants hoping to save Sheffield bar after ‘Boycott The Wick’ campaign

When Nathan Joseph took on the lease at The Wick at Both Ends during lockdown, he was relishing the opportunity to build on the popular West Street bar’s reputation as one of the city’s top night spots.

Tuesday, 14th July 2020, 1:48 pm

However just a week after the £500,000 deal for the building had been done and the new owner had handed Nathan the keys, the Sheffield establishment was subject to a ‘Boycott The Wick’ campaign on social media.

It had emerged that following the sale of the building, staff who worked under the previous management had been told that they no longer had jobs because the new tenants did not wish to take the old staff on.

The new tenants were accused of ‘buying out the business, firing all the staff and bringing in their own’.

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The Wick at Both Ends pub on West Street, Sheffield city centre

Nathan said this is not true and the new tenants knew nothing about the way the previous staff had been treated, or what they had been told.

"We only lease the ground floor and the cellar from the new owner, so we were not involved in the purchase of the building and so had no contact with the previous owner,” he explained.

"When we took on the lease we asked what was happening with staff who had been employed there, and we were told that they had been let go and that we were not to get in touch with the previous tenant.

“The comments blaming us for the redundancies have been hurtful, but we do not blame the staff for their reaction at all. Obviously if you lost your jobs and been told it is because of us then you are going to be angry at us.

"As soon as we saw what was happening we arranged to meet the old staff and we have proven to them that what they have been told about us choosing to make them redundant is not true.”

Now, in an effort to make things right and restore The Wick at Both Ends to its former glory, Nathan is working to offer previous staff shifts and help them find work at the same time as reopening the newly refurbished venue to the public.

Nathan said: "We are just trying to do what we can. We have only filled up about half of the role for our new staff so far and we have told the old staff this and we will also try and give them shifts to tide them over until they find new jobs.

"But we also have to keep our new staff in their jobs. I’ve explained that our current team does take a priority.”

Nathan said that although this situation has been difficult, he is now more motivated than ever to make The Wick as good as it can be.

"What we have learned from this is that The Wick is a venue made great by the people who have worked hard to make it how it is,” he said.

"Through meeting these old staff who are so passionate for the venue that has become clear. It was really encouraging when we met them because they saw that we have given The Wick the investment it needed and they commented on things that had been fixed.

"The old staff we met are brilliant people and we feel terrible about what has happened and how they have had to struggle like that. They should be recognised for the work they’ve done at The Wick and we want to help them now.”

The Star has attempted to contact The Wick’s former owners for comment.