as I drive past another demolition site where a local landmark pub once stood, I ponder its demise and the consequences of it and, amongst other things, wonder ‘what will charities do when the pubs are gone?’
Throughout my 51 years in life, the pub scene has been a central part of my social fabric.
I, particularly as the first born child, would have been proudly shown off to all and sundry at the Kimberley Miners Welfare club by my grandfather, and probably sucked Kimberley Ale (sadly gone) from his little finger way before I was weaned.
In my pre-teens the responsibility of running to the off-sales hatch and fetching ten ciggies and a bottle of pale ale for my dad when he had finished a hard day’s work would be mine.
As a sixteen-year-old working youth I would try my best to get served in the local hostelries and when successful would gratefully try to blend into the surroundings with my pint of locally brewed strange-tasting libation and learn to like the taste and also, more importantly, learn my place in the social hierarchy.
As a young adult I played for the pub teams at football, darts, dominoes and skittles, ran in the Kimberley Pram Race, the barrel run and every other charity community pub event for a laugh. And, as I recall, every wedding reception, christening, birthday party and charity bash I ever went to was in the pub!
For as long as I can remember every bar I’ve ever stood at has had at least one charity box, and ‘put the change in the box’ must be even more common than the old ‘and one for yourself’. A generous lot, by and large, the pub goers.
So if pubs are closing at the rate of 40 per week and each pub has at least one charity box on the bar, which on average will contain about £50, then this equates to a minimum loss to the charity sector of £104,000 per year!
Over the next ten years this adds up to a whopping £5,720,000 loss – but that is an absolute minimum.
Analysts predict pubs will continue folding at an even faster rate with our current level of around 57,000 dropping to an estimated 22,000.
Let’s face it, most pubs have more than one bar with often two or three boxes on each, and the charity box is only a very small part of the overall total of most pubs’ charitable enterprise.
What about the charity darts marathon, the sponsor forms, the head shave, the charity gig et al?
Could it be that the British drinker and licensed trader actually raise more for charity than any other commercial sector?
So the question is, how will the demise of licensed premises affect our social fabric and charities?
n Ian returned from a year long pub tour back in April having raised over £140,000 for Help for Heroes.