Pubs Rally To Support Communities In Pandemic

The nation’s 12-week lockdown could cost charities and grassroots sports an estimated £35 million in funds raised by pubs, according to PubAid, the group dedicated to promoting pubs as a force for good in their communities.

However, hundreds of pubs, who have seen a drastic fall in trade since the Covid-19 outbreak, are actively increasing support for their communities, helping local residents who are unable to leave their homes.  Many have adapted their menus to takeaway or delivery, with a number providing free meals to local pensioners, others setting up village shops to serve those unable to travel, and generally acting as a hub to co-ordinate community efforts to support vulnerable residents.

Just as importantly, many are looking for ways to offer local people some of the social and emotional benefits they gain from a visit to the pub. A number have set up helplines to offer local housebound people a much-needed social interaction, others have organised on-line pub quizzes.

PubAid co-founder Des O’Flanagan said: “Clearly, traditional fundraising through events in pubs will have to stop in line with Government advice to avoid social contact. With pubs raising £100m a year for charities and £40m to grassroots sports, a three-month lockdown will equate to a £35 million shortfall.

“Despite the catastrophic consequences of the pandemic for pubs, many have responded by doing all they can to support customers and local residents and remain a hub for their community in this time of need.  Pubs have survived for hundreds of years by adapting to the changing world around them, and the speed with which so many have changed their business practices in the face of the Covid-19 lockdown is impressive.

“We are only at the beginning of this very difficult time, but we are confident that pubs will continue to help people to come through it, offering practical, social and emotional support.  Pub doors may be shutting, but pubs will find a way to remain a force for good in their local communities. ”

Pubs at the heart of communities

Pubs raise £100m every year for hundreds of charities and worthy causes

PubAid’s World’s Biggest Pub Quiz, held every March, has raised £750,000 for charities since its launch in 2016. The 2020 Quiz figures are not included in this, with around 1,700 pubs thought to have taken part.

In 2019, PubAid carried out research into pubs and grassroots sport, revealing that pubs provide £40m in funding and in-kind support (free room hire, after-match food and drink), for local sports clubs

The PubAid Charity Pub of the Year Awards reward pubs for their charity and community support. The 2019 winner, the Rose of Mossley in Liverpool, has raised an estimated £250,000 in 30 years, as well as offering hands-on help to individuals in need in the community.

Pubs’ response to pandemic

  • The Chequers in Aylesford, Kent, is delivering free hot lunches and dinners to anyone over the age of 70 within the village or nearby.
  • The Fleece Inn, Brereton near Evesham is running a ‘loneliness buster’ helpline, as well as offering local meal deliveries.
  • The Polgooth Inn in St Austell ran its regular Pub Quiz on 17 March on Facebook Live
  • The Heritage in Slaugham, West Sussex, is looking to set up a village shop, to help local residents avoid trips to supermarkets and give local food and drink suppliers a new outlet.
  • Ye Old Sun Inn in Colton, North Yorkshire, is baking fresh bread, pies and cakes daily, selling them from a stall outside the pub as well as delivering orders to local residents unable to get out.
  • The Pickled Ploughman in Adderbury, Oxfordshire, is delivering free hot meals to local vulnerable people and to others who are self-isolating on a BOGOF deal. It also has a stall outside the pub selling fresh fruit and veg, dairy and dried goods.
  • The Loyal Tavern is Bermondsey, South London, is turning its restaurant into a grocery store and deli and will also be donating grocery boxes to the elderly.
  • The Tap & Run in Upper Broughton, Melton Mowbray is opening a village shop to sell groceries and pre-prepared meals to cook at home. A delivery service will be free to over 70s and NHS workers.
  • Customers are also doing their bit to support pubs. A regular at The Lugger in Polruan, Cornwall, loaded £2,000 onto a loyalty card to use in the pub this summer.