UK pubs get funding to run Post Office and library services
Rural pubs in the UK are set to receive extra funding to enable them to run additional services including Post Office facilities, shops and libraries, as part of a bid to increase their community value and prevent further closures.
The UK Government announced yesterday that 76 pub across England are to receive share of £188,000 in funding through Pub is The Hub – an organisation that help rural pubs to diversify their offer an bring communities together by expanding their services beyond food and drink.
Projects planned include additional Post Office facilities within existing pubs, shops, libraries and children’s play areas.
“This funding will be welcomed by many projects and will be a huge boost for thousands of people living in, and visiting, rural communities,” said John Longden, chief executive of Pub is The Hub.
“Services and activities delivered by professional pub licensees (landlords) through their businesses can provide a wide range of benefits; basic groceries, library books, training courses, outlets for local suppliers and new jobs – all delivering improved levels of well-being through vital social connections.”
Brigid Simmonds, chief executive of the British Beer & Pub Association, also welcomed the additional funding.
“As the original social network, pubs are at the heart of our communities and play a vital role in our lives by bringing us together.
“The pub is far more than just a place to eat and drink. The work of Pub is the Hub with funding and expert support shows how vital pubs can be to delivering other services of community value from Post Office facilities to grocery shops and libraries.
“This additional Pub is the Hub funding will boost rural, community pubs across the UK, helping them remain viable. Pub is the Hub is a great charity which everyone in brewing and pubs supports. This additional funding will encourage others to support it too.”
PUBS STILL CLOSING
While the funding is aimed at tackling rural isolation, it comes at a time when UK pubs are still closing at a rate of 14 per week, according to the Campaign for Real Ale, which has prompted the organisation to renew calls for action from the Government to support pubs and prevent their permanent loss to communities.
The number of pub closures has dropped slightly from a rate of 18 a week last year, thanks in part to CAMRA’s success in achieving new local planning protection for pubs in England, but remains high at 14 a week.
As part of the 2018 Budget announcement, the government announced a third off eligible retailer’s business rates bills for two years from April 2019 for properties with a rateable value below £51,000, which it said is worth an estimated £1 billion and will help community pubs to thrive.
“Our pubs are at the heart of local communities supporting thousands of jobs and providing places for local residents to not only enjoy a pint, but also to get together,” said Community Pubs Minister Jake Berry MP.
“The encouragement, advice and support given by the Pub is The Hub is proving invaluable in helping rural pubs expand their offer. Pubs are not only places to drink but also home to essential community services and providing welcome meeting places to help tackle rural isolation.”
A total of 76 projects will benefit from funding, listed here.
For more information on Pub is The Hub and how to access support go to www.pubisthehub.org.uk