New research for industry body PubAid has revealed a disconnect between pubgoers’ love of their local and their appreciation of it as a centre for charity fundraising and grassroots sport support.
The team at the Horse & Jockey, in Melling, Merseyside, joint winners of PubAid’s Community Pub Hero awards 2021
An overwhelming majority of consumers believe the pub is at least ‘somewhat important’ in creating a vibrant community. But far fewer realise the extent of pubs’ support for charity, which PubAid estimates at more than £100m every year, or for grassroots sport, at £40m.
PubAid’s research shows that 90% of pubs raise money for charity. One-fifth say they have changed the charities they support since lockdown, with local causes the most popular. These include hospitals and schools (44%), the NHS (21%), caring for people with illness (17%), and mental health (12%). Showing pubs’ ability to respond quickly in a changing world, 8% said they are supporting refugees, including Ukraine relief.
Pubs’ support for their local communities doesn’t stop at charity fundraising. Three-quarters of pubs offer free space for local community events, four in ten support local campaigns such as food banks, and 16% donate food to those in need locally.
PubAid co-founder, Des O’Flanagan, said: “Pubs are powerhouses of fundraising, whether they’re collecting for a national charity or a local cause. Thousands of charities benefit every year from the tremendous fundraising efforts by licensees and their teams, while their support for grassroots sport is keeping countless local clubs afloat.
“Most pubgoers will be aware of some fundraising going on in their local, but it seems the pub isn’t everyone’s first port of call if they want to raise money for charity, or to seek support for their sports team.
“We know there’s an appetite among licensees to get more involved in their communities, so what we want to do is square the 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.”
He added: “Our aim at PubAid is to celebrate pubs as a force for good in their communities, so we were pleased to see that the vast majority of consumers see their local as filling exactly this role.”
Later this year, PubAid will again be running its Community Pub Hero Awards, designed to reward licensees and their teams who go the extra mile to support their local communities, charities and worthy causes. The scheme, sponsored by Matthew Clark and run with the All-Party Parliamentary Beer Group, attracted 115 entries last year.
PubAid also runs a Grassroots Sports Champion programme, with support from Sky. Close to 300 pubs have joined, gaining recognition for their support of local sports. Becoming a Grassroots Sports Champion is free, and pubs receive a marketing pack of staff T-shirts and window stickers.