How landlady is making sure her Northampton pub is known as a ‘female safe’ venue

“Women come here because they know we will take care of them.”

Thursday, 7th October 2021, 9:30 am
The Spread Eagle in Wellingborough Road.

A landlady has worked hard to implement measures and to change the ethos to make sure her Northampton pub is known as a ‘female safe venue’.

Maria Carr took over The Spread Eagle in Wellingborough Road a year ago after moving from Florida after the pandemic hit.

Since reopening following the lockdowns, Maria has made it her aim to secure her pub as a venue where women feel safe and as though they will be looked after if needed. Something that is on a lot of people’s minds following recent national and local events.

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Maria is working hard to make sure her pub is known as a 'female safe' venue.

The 43-year-old said: “My friends and I used to go out feeling anxious even in twos so we’d make sure we were in groups.

“So when I took over the pub I wanted to implement something that made staff and customers feel safe.

“My aim is to have women in our venue who feel safe to enjoy themselves and not have to look over their shoulder every five minutes.”

Maria worked as a DJ for 20 years before taking over her first pub, which is staffed by females only.

Prior to taking on the popular venue, Maria researched the town and she says the India Chipchase case was a huge influence in her mission to make women feel safe.

One measure now in place is high tech security, which includes a camera system where drinks can be tracked in any area of the pub.

All staff and security personnel are also trained to spot anyone in distress and closely monitor every customer to make sure they are all safe.

Maria added: “If someone gets separated from their friends, we wouldn’t refuse entry if they are trying to find them.

“If someone is drunk and needs to get home, we will find a taxi and make sure they get home or if they need someone else we will call a friend or even a parent.

“If someone appears to be in any kind of distress, we ask them to step away and come with us, then check if they are alright.

“And anyone can ask at the bar for help if a friend is drunk.”

The landlady recalls an incident a few weeks ago when a woman specifically went to the pub after she had a substance thrown over her face in another part of town.

“She was scratching her face, but she came to us and we poured water over her and called the emergency services,” Maria continued.

“Most people would turn people away in a situation like that, but the police actually came to congratulate us after that incident and told us we did the right thing.”

Maria also recalls a security guard who tracked down a taxi to make sure a young man got home after he presented as drunk.

With word of mouth and the incidents Maria mentions, the pub is gaining a reputation for being the place that will offer help if needed.

“We have been doing it for a year and it works,” Maria said.

“Women come here because they know we will take care of them.

“They know if they drink too much they will have three eyes on them and we will do whatever we need to do to get them home.

“The most amazing thing is that the community has backed it. The regulars have got on board and men are implementing and backing the female aspect.

“Positivity spreads positivity and it really does here.

“Venues need to take more responsibility for customers’ safety. They have been in their venue drinking so I don’t understand why they wouldn’t want to help them.

“If there was more of that then people would not feel so anxious about going out.”

Maria now has more plans in place to keep improving the pub.