Pubs’ support vital for local charities and grassroots sport

Now that we are, hopefully, past lockdowns and trading restrictions for good, it’s time to feel cautiously confident about the future of the great British pub. At PubAid, we certainly hope that all the great work licensees did to support their communities during Covid has won them the ongoing love and loyalty of those local customers.

By Des O'Flanagan, co-founder, PubAid

27 July 2022

Over the years, PubAid has conducted various research among pubs, which showed that they raise more than £100 million every year for charities, and support grassroots sport to the tune of around £40 million. These are impressive figures that have doubtless offered a lifeline to many local charities, good causes and sports clubs.

Earlier this year, we asked consumers about what they thought about pubs and support for their communities. It was interesting to see that people don’t necessarily see their local as the ‘first port of call’ if they want to raise money for a charity, or gather support for a local sports team – despite the fact that an overwhelming majority (93%)1 believe the pub is at least ‘somewhat important’ in creating a vibrant community.

We know there’s an appetite among licensees to get more involved in their communities. 90% of them raise money for charity or local good causes. Three-quarters of pubs offer free space for local community events, four in 10 support local campaigns such as food banks, and 16% donate food to those in need locally.

When we ran our Community Pub Hero Awards last year, we were overwhelmed by the quality of entries from pubs who had supported their communities through the pandemic, despite facing challenging conditions themselves. Choosing a shortlist and winners was a truly tough task! And our Grassroots Sports Champions scheme, launched earlier this year, has already recognised 300 pubs for their support for local sport

So what we need to do is square that circle and ensure that charities and grassroots sports players think about the pub as a partner. Community pubs have tremendous support within their local area and are keen to repay that in the form of financial and other support going back to community causes.

We also asked pubs about their charity support since Covid. One-fifth say they have changed the charities they support since lockdown, with local causes the most popular, including hospitals and schools (44%), the NHS (21%), caring for people with illness (17%) and mental health (12%). Showing pubs’ ability to respond quickly to our changing world, 8% said they are supporting refugees including Ukraine relief.

Our aim at PubAid is to celebrate pubs as a force for good in their communities, so we‘re pleased to see that the vast majority of consumers see their local as filling exactly this role.

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