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Pub is the Hub and HEINEKEN UK call last orders for loneliness through pubs

23 October 2019

Pub is the Hub and HEINEKEN UK call last orders for loneliness through pubs

Pub is the Hub has launched Join Inn – Last Orders for Loneliness to combat loneliness and isolation through services and activities provided by pubs in a £100,000 two-year pilot programme that is being funded by HEINEKEN UK.

The initiative was inspired by the Jo Cox Loneliness Campaign and will help pub owners, operators, local authorities and rural community organisations to review the pub’s role in helping to provide vital social spaces for local residents.

Join Inn – Last Orders for Loneliness will fund a part-time advisory ‘Ambassador for Loneliness’ role that will seek to spread the best ideas from individual pub schemes to other regions and share their success through collaboration with supporting partners nationwide. Through its own Community Services Fund, Pub is the Hub has been providing micro grants to pubs since 2013 to create additional services or activities that have been lost to the community, or where the community has identified a need for something new. Schemes such as shops, cafés, post offices, digital hubs, libraries, community playgrounds and cinemas in rural pubs have all brought the added benefits of encouraging local residents to visit the pub – sometimes for the first time – and to meet and make friends.

This announcement builds on four years of HEINEKEN UK’s Brewing Good Cheer campaign, which encourages pubs to host events that bring people together who might not often get the chance to visit their local. Last year 100 pubs took part hosting lunches for over 2,000 people with support from Heineken colleagues volunteering. This year HEINEKEN is aiming for it to be bigger than ever and are broadening the festive events to include everything from coffee mornings, mince pies and a pint through to Christmas lunches. HEINEKEN will support the pubs taking part in Brewing Good Cheer by matching them up with a local charity or community group if they don’t already have links to one along with a toolkit on how to engage their community with the campaign.   

David Forde, Managing Director, HEINEKEN UK said: “Pubs are so often the heart of communities and can play a vital role in helping to tackle social isolation. With 2,700 pubs across the UK we understand their importance in bringing people together, it’s something we’ve campaigned passionately about for the last four years through our Brewing Good Cheer campaign. We’re thrilled to build on our long-term support for Pub is the Hub. Our partnership will kick-start community activities and shine a light on how communities come together in, and often rely on, the great British pub.”

John Longden, Chief Executive for Pub is the Hub added: “One of the main benefits we have discovered through our projects with rural pubs is the enormous boost to wellbeing that they provide to isolated or vulnerable people in communities. We are very grateful to HEINEKEN UK for supporting us to scale up and help to share our ideas with many more communities.”

Robin Hewings, Director of Campaigns, Policy and Research at the Campaign to End Loneliness said “At The Campaign to End Loneliness we want to inspire people to connect and to bring communities together. Everyone needs connections that matter and pubs can be a great place for that to happen – so this Join Inn – Last Orders for Loneliness initiative is welcome. In the new year, we’ll be announcing the results of a piece of research we’ve done in partnership with HEINEKEN to further understand how pubs can play a bigger role in bringing people together.”

Examples of Pub is The Hub initiatives in pubs include:

  • Fifteen micro-libraries in rural pubs in Cornwall. This initiative is supported by Cornwall Council’s library services providing access, not only to a regular supply of books but access to all the other library and council services through a computer terminal and Wifi sited in each library.
  • At the Boot Inn at Freston in Suffolk, the licensee opened an art deco style community cinema in a refurbished store room at the back of the pub. There, the community get together to watch big sporting events or TV ‘occasions’ as well devising a regular programme of film screenings.
  • An initiative that began in East Anglia by Creative Arts East and Applause Rural Touring to bring live touring theatre ‘specially-written-for-pubs’, called the INN CROWD has seen live performances in hundreds of rural pubs attracting people who might never be able to get out to theatres in their nearest towns.
  • At the Green Dragon in Exelby in North Yorkshire they introduced a café and shop earlier this year that became so popular as a social hub they began to organise regular events such as quiz night and knitting clubs, offering local residents the chance to socialise without going into the pub itself.