The predicted 12-week lockdown could cost charities and grassroots sports an estimated £35 million in funds raised by pubs, according to PubAid, the group dedicated to promoting pubs as a force for good in their communities.
However, hundreds of pubs, who have seen a drastic fall in trade since the Covid-19 outbreak, are actively increasing support for their communities, helping local residents who are unable to leave their homes. Many have adapted their menus to takeaway or delivery, with a number providing free meals to local pensioners, others setting up village shops to serve those unable to travel, and generally acting as a hub to co-ordinate community efforts to support vulnerable residents.
Just as importantly, many are looking for ways to offer local people some of the social and emotional benefits they gain from a visit to the pub. A number have set up helplines to offer local housebound people a much-needed social interaction, others have organised on-line pub quizzes.
PubAid co-founder Des O’Flanagan said: “Clearly, traditional fundraising through events in pubs will have to stop in line with Government advice to avoid social contact. With pubs raising £100m a year for charities and £40m to grassroots sports, a three-month lockdown will equate to a £35 million shortfall.
“Despite the catastrophic consequences of the pandemic for pubs, many have responded by doing all they can to support customers and local residents and remain a hub for their community in this time of need. Pubs have survived for hundreds of years by adapting to the changing world around them, and the speed with which so many have changed their business practices in the face of the Covid-19 lockdown is impressive.
“We are only at the beginning of this very difficult time, but we are confident that pubs will continue to help people to come through it, offering practical, social and emotional support. Pub doors may be shutting, but pubs will find a way to remain a force for good in their local communities. “