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12th May 2021

Pub is The Hub: New research highlights the social value publicans and pubs create by providing local services

Publicans Becky and John Gibbons converted a shipping container into a village store called The Larder at The Rose & Crown in Longburton, Dorset. Becky (pictured) is serving a customer in the store, which was opened with support from Pub is The Hub’s Community Services Fund. 

The social value that pubs and publicans created by providing local services during the first Covid-19 lockdown has been unveiled in a new report from Pub is The Hub, the not-for-profit organisation that helps pubs to diversify and provide essential local services.

The report called ‘The Social Value of Pubs and Publicans providing Services in their Communities’ has for the first time measured the social value impact of pub services. Social value looks at the broad effects that an organisation is achieving with its work and takes into account the wider social, economic and environmental wellbeing benefits that a service or project can bring to an area.

Pubs and publicans ensured that essential services remained accessible to local residents at the heart of their communities during the Covid-19 lockdowns and they will be crucial in helping communities rebuild as the pub sector reopens.

The evaluation undertaken by Cornwall Rural Community Charity, which is experienced in measuring social value, found that for every £1 spent on a project through the Pub is The Hub Community Services Fund, in the first lockdown, between £8.98 and £9.24 of social value was created.

This illustrates that one suitable pub diversification project with a grant of £3,000 from the Community Services Fund could potentially create over £27,000 in social value to a local area.

The Community Services Fund, which was started in 2013, offers small grants to help pubs diversify and has already supported over 160 pubs to provide more than 30 different types of services including village stores, Post Offices, allotments, community cafés and libraries. Further projects are currently in the pipeline or awaiting funding provision.

The 25 Covid response pub projects analysed in the evaluation included village stores, communitycafés and takeaways, food delivery services, IT and information hubs, a bakery, a workshop and community gardens.

The evaluation analysed various outcomes such as the impact that the projects had on helping support older, disabled and vulnerable people and how publicans worked collectively with local organisations to help reduce isolation and tackle social needs.

The Importance of Pubs

John Longden, chief executive of Pub is The Hub, said: “It proves how vital these services have been during the pandemic. Covid-19 has reinforced the importance of pubs and good publicans in helping local people.

He added: “Publicans were often the first in their community to rise to the challenges and recognisethe issues local residents were facing. The important social impact of publicans’ responses to local needs has often been essential to get people through the pandemic.

“As the market fully reopens publicans and pubs are going to be crucial in helping local areas rebuild as well as aiding Government priorities for economic recovery.”

Cornwall Rural Community Charity, development and evaluation manager, Gemma Finnegan, who independently conducted the research, said: “We are very proud of this piece of work that has highlighted the important social value of pub services during the first lockdown.

“This is the first time that social value methodology has been applied to pub diversification projects and the results have been really positive, demonstrating the wider role publicans and pubs play in their communities.

“What is interesting is the major impact that Pub is The Hub projects have had in local areas and communities with only a small grant.”

Editor’s notes

Pub is The Hub is a not-for-profit organisation inspired by HRH the Prince of Wales in 2001, which offers specialist independent advice to all publicans on local services diversification together with guidance on how to combat community isolation and loneliness issues. This highlights the wider responsibilities of running viable pubs in communities today. Since 2013, the organisation has also been able to offer small grants through its Community Services Fund.

The evaluation was commissioned by Pub is The Hub with encouragement and support from the Building Capabilities funding of The National Lottery to measure the social value delivered by its Community Services Fund, which has been supported by the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government.

The evaluation conducted with Cornwall Rural Community Charity, analysed the social value impact of 25 pub projects that the Pub is The Hub Community Services Fund completed or initiated in the first lockdown. It is planned to complete the evaluation on all the other remaining projects once the national lockdown restrictions have been ceased.

Social value is measured by using the Social Value Engine, which was created and developed through a partnership between Rose Regeneration and East Riding of Yorkshire Council. They identified over 180 national academically researched proxies, which are used to measure the evidence impact through the Social Return on Investment (SROI) process, following the recommendations of the Public Services (Social Value Act 2012).

Pub is The Hub also runs a campaign called ‘Join Inn – Last Orders for Loneliness’ supported by Heineken UK, which offers individual publicans resources, ideas and support to help tackle the growing issue of societal loneliness in their local area.

Twitter: @PubistheHub_uk

Press release from Pub is the Hub

For any enquiries please contact Michelle Perrett on or on 07881 585195 or Jo Bruce on or on 07766 203628.