Fundraising in happier times at the Falkners Arms, Fleet, Hampshire

The nation’s 12-week lockdown could cost charities and grassroots sports an estimated £35 million in funds raised by pubs, according to PubAid.

However, hundreds of pubs, who have seen a drastic fall in trade since the Coronavirus outbreak, are actively increasing support for their communities, helping local residents who are unable to leave their homes.

Many have adapted their menus to take-away 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 online 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 for grassroots sports, a three-month lockdown will equate to a £35m 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. “

How great British pubs are responding to the Coronavirus pandemic

  • The Chequers, in Aylesford, Kent, is delivering free hot lunches and dinners to anyone over the age of 70 within the village or near by. 
  • The Fleece Inn, Brereton, near Evesham, is running a ‘loneliness buster’ helpline, as well as offering local meal deliveries.
  • The Polgooth Inn, in Cornwall, ran its regular pub quiz, on 17th 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 ‘buy one, get one free’ deal. It also has a stall outside the pub selling fresh fruit and veg, dairy, and dried goods.
  • The Loyal Tavern, in 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.

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