Support for first-time pub managers in Walkley

Matt Begley took over the Walkley Cottage in December 2020: bad timing, some might say, especially for his first time running a pub. But, says Matt, the previous managers handed their notice in just as he began seriously looking for a pub – the brewery hadn’t even begun advertising it yet – and when he looked around, he could see it was really special. “I didn’t know when an opportunity like that might come again,” he says, “so I went for it. It’s been a hard couple of years, but it’s beginning to pay off.”

As he settled into the pub trade, Matt’s enjoyed support from Simon Walton, a Business Information Officer with Business Sheffield. Simon is one of a team of successful business owners and consultants working with Business Sheffield to support high street businesses recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic. “At first I wasn’t sure if he’d be able to help me,” says Matt, “but over time I’ve found him to be really genuine, and he has a lot to offer. 

“He sends out regular emails with information and opportunities we might find helpful, and he’s supported me with applications for grants and for RISE [a programme to connect Sheffield SME employers with talented graduates]. It’s like a box of chocolates; he’s got loads to offer and I can pick what’s useful for me. He’s a really nice guy too which helps!”

Matt and his team are bringing the Walkley Cottage into its own as a friendly community pub, with a huge garden, a new menu and regular family events. “The local community are so friendly,” says Matt. “We have lots of regulars – I know pretty much everyone who’s in here right now by name.” In the future, Matt’s looking forward to working further with Business Sheffield to improve the pub’s use of social media, building a wider customer base and showing the local community everything his pub has to offer.

Simon is available to support all businesses in Walkley, Chapeltown, High Green, Ecclesfield, Grenoside, Frecheville, Mosborough and Hackenthorpe. To get in touch with him, call 07540 313018 or email

Simon’s work is part of the support provided for local business by Business Sheffield. To contact Business Sheffield, email or call 0114 224 5000 

To contact the Walkley Cottage, visit, call (0114) 2344968 or email


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