Exclusive interview with 2023 Charity Fundraising Pub Hero 'Beth Robinson' from the Beeswing Inn

The Beeswing pub in Northallerton, Yorkshire, won  the ‘Charity Fundraising Pub Hero’ award at the Matthew Clark and PubAid Community Pub Hero Awards for 2022/23. 

By Abi Owers, Contributor, PubAid

17 December 2023

Since 2014, the Beeswing, operated by Punch Pub & Co, has organised the Cowtonbury Music Festival to raise money for charity. It also has fundraised extensively for the Friarage Hospital in Northallerton, raising over £64,000 to improve its palliative care facilities. 

We caught up with Beth Robinson, owner at The Beeswing, to hear what they’ve been up to since the awards and what it meant to win last year. 

If you want to join the list of community hero winners, entries for this year’s Matthew Clark Community Pub Hero Awards are open now and you can enter here

Q. You won the ‘Charity Fundraising Pub Hero’ award last year. What benefits have you seen since winning at the awards?

I was shocked by how much publicity followed for the pub and, more importantly for me, the publicity that followed for the charity work we do. I have been interviewed on the radio multiple times and had multiple articles in the newspapers and on social media pages. I have been fundraising for the last 10 years and it’s been really difficult to get publicity until this year. 

 Q. How important has it been to be recognised for the work the pub does in the community?

I, along with many other publicans, don't do the work we do for recognition. We do it as it’s the pub’s role to play an important part in the community. We have facilities and the ability to do amazing things for our community. However I think the recognition that has come has been a really great incentive for my team, who work tirelessly for me and my whacky plans. I also think that any publicity that supports the importance of pubs in their community is so important.

Q. What has the pub been doing since it won?

Since we won the award back in March we have held our 10th annual music festival now raising our fundraising total to over £190k which we hope means, next year, we can break through the £200k mark. The pub has had a busy year packed with community events and fundraising. In a time where it is as hard as ever to be in this industry we are trying to stay consistent in our opening and offering and we continue to put ourselves at the center of the community. 

 Q. Do you have any plans to do more as a pub in your community, for charity, for grassroot sports or for sustainability and going green? 

Cowtonbury (the name of our fundraising group) has huge plans which we have been working on since 2018. We will continue to fundraise as we have commitments! We are in the planning stages of building two palliative care rooms in our local hospital so they can provide patients at end of life with a service they are currently unable to. 

We also offer continued support to the palliative care team within the community, buying items needed to support people in their own homes to make them more comfortable, as well as working as a link to other charities and the council to provide or help source what the palliative care team need.

 Q. Did the Community Pub Hero Awards enable you to forge a working relationship with any of your local MPs or did you benefit from meeting with MPs at the awards event at the House of Commons?

My local MP was unable to make the awards ceremony but it was a really nice evening and was nice to talk to and meet so many MP's.

Q. How easy was it to enter the Community Pub Hero Awards?It was about a 15 minute application process (if that) then I had an email to say I was a finalist in January, which was really exciting. The trip to London was amazing and getting to visit the House of Commons was incredible - we even got invited into The Strangers Bar. The event was so lovely and in a really beautiful setting. 

Q. Are you entering the Community Pub Hero Awards again for 2024?

I think I would like to enter for the community award.

Q. Why should other pubs enter the Community Pub Hero Awards?

As an industry we do so much for the community and charities that we forget to take time to acknowledge what we actually do. Put yourselves forward if not for yourself, do it to recognise your team. Our industry needs positive publicity - publicity that shows the good we do and the important role pubs play in the community. These awards highlight all of this and it’s amazing. 

The 2024 categories include:

  • Community Support Hero which celebrates a pub that truly supports its local area

  • Community Fundraising Hero which is for the pub that raises money for charity

  • Community Regular Hero for an individual who goes above and beyond

  • NEW FOR 2024: Community Sport Hero which will recognise a pub that truly supports grassroots sport in its area or brings the community together via sporting events

  • NEW FOR 2024: Community Sustainability Hero which will recognise the efforts of a pub going above and beyond in terms of helping to protect the environment locally

 Enter or nominate someone for the 2024 Community Pub Hero Awards here.  Entries close 19th January 2024. 

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