A Durham-based hotel and pub has opened its third wedding venue after a year of delays, thanks to support from Lloyds Bank.

South Causey Inn, located in Stanley, is an independent hotel with wedding facilities, a restaurant, pub and cocktail bar that has been run by the Moiser family for more than 14 years.

The business has three wedding venues – The Durham Suite which has capacity for 150 guests and The Old Barn which has space for up to 200 guests.

To cope with rising demand for its wedding facilities, the firm decided to create a new venue called The Farmhouse which features a ceremony room, cocktail lounge, dining room, and a range of bedroom suites for guests.

In 2020, when plans on the new development were underway, the pandemic hit and forced the business to postpone or cancel more than 400 scheduled weddings. It was also forced to postpone the opening of the new wedding venue.

To support, the business secured a seven-figure Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan (CBIL) via Lloyds Bank. This helped the business meet fixed costs and overheads while it continued to focus on the build of the new wedding venue.

As restrictions eased in May, South Causey Inn opened its doors once more and began to hold ceremonies in a limited capacity in line with government guidelines.

The first few ceremonies in the new venue have also now taken place and the business is hoping to hold 250 ceremonies through the rest of the year – if restrictions ease as expected.

Susan Moiser, director of South Causey Inn, said: “The pandemic has been extremely difficult for the wedding industry and for couples who have been forced to change plans for their special day.

“We saw all 400 of our bookings disrupted which was incredibly difficult for us. Luckily, we have a long-standing relationship with Lloyds Bank, and they were once again on hand to support us through this challenging period.

“For now, our main concern is the health and safety of our customers so we’ll continue to offer a reduced wedding service. If all goes smoothly, we’re hoping to offer the full wedding experience once more from June once restrictions further ease, and enjoy a strong second half of the year.”

William Harvey, relationship manager at Lloyds Bank, said: “Towards the end of last year the wedding industry was estimated to have lost around £4.8bn in the UK. This means more than 127,000 couples had to postpone their weddings having a huge impact on businesses like South Causey Inn.

“The Moiser family showed exceptional resilience to withstand the brunt of the pandemic and we were happy to support them through this difficult period.

“As lockdown restrictions ease further over the coming weeks, we’ll continue to stand by businesses as they look to bounce back this year.”