Retired licensee praises LTC scheme designed to combat social isolation

By Ellie Bothwell

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags License

LTC is calling on companies to promote the scheme to its retired staff
LTC is calling on companies to promote the scheme to its retired staff
A retired publican has praised the Licensed Trade Charity’s (LTC) Befriending Scheme, which offers friendship and support to ex-licensees.

Reginald Wyatt, 90, who ran the Cherry Tree in Temple Meads, Bristol for 28 years until he was 64, said he receives a call from someone at the charity once a week under the scheme since his wife passed away one year ago.

“It’s been marvellous. A gentleman rings me on a Wednesday to see if I’m ok and warm, because I’m getting rather old now, I have cancer, and I live alone,” he told the Publican’s Morning Advertiser​.

“To have somebody ring you up is a pleasure. I was in touch with other publicans I worked with but there aren’t many of them left now.”


The Telephone Befriending Scheme was launched by the LTC’s Support & Care branch following research from the charity, which identifies more than 4,400 people that have worked in the licensed drinks trade as “socially isolated”. The figures come from a model for the trade, which is based on trends for the entire UK population.

Support & Care said the problems associated with social isolation are exacerbated for those retired from the licensed trade, as they usually will have been socially active people throughout their working lives, but due to ill health or bereavement, find themselves alone in later life.

It is calling for companies to promote the scheme, which is funded by the Worshipful Company of Innholders, to its retired staff.  There are currently four people employed as Befrienders, who offer friendship and support to former licensees by calling them weekly.

'Not enough is being done'

Director of marketing and charity services Liz Gaffer said: “It is clear that not enough is being done to support people living in social isolation.

“Our research found 4,403 people identifying themselves as being socially isolated, but we believe the true figure is far higher because we are reliant on asking people to identify themselves as being lonely and socially isolated.

“Companies could play a vital role in getting the message to retired licensees, and indeed those nearing retirement, that there is help and they do not have to live out their retirement in loneliness.”

She added: “We speak regularly to one lady who is blind and basically a prisoner in her own home. She is too scared to leave the house, and we are also helping her find new accommodation in a safer area where she will have better support.

“Another lady recently lost her husband, having exclusively cared for him for many, many years and is now facing life alone. It’s not an unusual story. When a partner dies, often the one left behind is unable to make new friendships, and has no support network – this is where we come in.”  

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