Newington Fish Bar - Employee experience of working for a Living Wage Employer

To celebrate National Fish and Chip Day, we spoke to an employee at Newington Fish Bar, a Living Wage accredited fish and chip bar based in Ramsgate, Kent.  

Newington Fish Bar has been serving the community with high quality fish and chips since it was founded over 40 years ago. Over the years, they’ve received countless awards and honours, most recently being named one of the UK’s 50 Best Fish & Chip Takeaways 2024. 

We spoke with Summer Scholes, Counter Assistant at Newington Fish Bar to find out more about herself and her experiences working there.  

I began working at Newington Fish Bar two and a half years ago and it’s been amazing. Working for a Living Wage Employer has made such an enormous difference to my life. As a 19-year-old, I'm paid significantly more than the statutory minimum for under 21s, which is currently £8.60

The real Living Wage has given me financial security to be able to plan for my future whilst enjoying my life now. Since working at the Fish Bar, I no longer have to worry about if I’ll be able to afford to pay my bills each month, which eases a lot of stress.

Headshot of Summer Scholes with a white background

The workplace culture and environment at the Fish Bar is really positive, we truly are like one big family. Working in such a busy place can be extremely stressful, but we work together as a team to help support one another and manage our stress levels. Having worked in less supportive workplaces before, it’s refreshing to work for an employer that really values all their employees individually and treats everyone with respect. 

At the Fish Bar, I not only feel valued as an employee but most importantly as a person too. I am currently one of the youngest members in the team at the Fish Bar, but it never feels like this. I feel equal to everyone regardless of my age.

After leaving school, I was unable to afford to go to university, I wasn’t earning enough at my previous job to save, and all my wages went towards bills. I had to enrol onto a two-year college course so I could study, work and save to be able to afford going to university. Working for a Living Wage Employer and being paid a fair wage has allowed me to save to eventually go to university, a dream I’ve had for a while.

I currently work three days per week, a working pattern that suits me perfectly as a I spend 3 days a week studying Media at college. Having this balance and knowing when I will be working lets me have a healthy work life balance, I have the time and money to live comfortably and enjoy myself.

Before working at the Fish Bar, I had spent my summer working another job in hospitality. I was working every single day of the summer just to be able to pay my bills. This job paid below the minimum wage. I didn’t feel like this wage reflected what I deserved and how hard I was working. It was incredibly demotivating to work for an employer that didn’t value me.  

Working in hospitality can be very stressful at times. In previous hospitality roles I have found them quite mentally taxing and hard to leave, since they’re so busy and need employees to work. 

I have several friends that also work in hospitality and who are paid below the real Living Wage. This affects their motivation and mental health; they often feel stressed.  

In addition to the Living Wage, I’ve been given opportunities and room to grow at the Fish Bar. For example, I work on the social media accounts for the Fish Bar. Having the freedom and creativity to lead on our social media posts is so rewarding and makes me feel trusted by my team. Being able to do this has given me practical experience that’ll help me in college and my Media qualification. 

Find out how to become an accredited Living Wage Employer here.