Among key community initiatives the company – which now has 17 sites – has launched in the past year is ‘Our Street Party’, which saw it partner with a local GP to provide local residents with the tools needed to organise street parties in their communities.
CEO Peter Borg-Neal was inspired to get involved in the project by the national ‘Playing Out’ scheme which aims to create a culture of street play for children. Oakman organised resource packs for potential street party organisers, hosted street party information sessions at pubs, funded website www.ourstreetparty.org and put on celebration dinners for street-party organisers. Two parties have so far been organised and the aim is to help activate more in other towns where Oakman has pubs.
Other key initiatives which impressed the judges were: Oakman’s development of its rugby minis tournament for the Oakham Cup, which saw 11 local junior rugby clubs involved in a competition at Saracens’ Allianz Park; and the success of its ‘Eat for Italy’ charity campaign which raised more than £20,000 for the victims of last year’s Italian earthquake, within four days of the disaster.
Also praised by the judging panel was Oakman’s overall approach to charity campaigns, which not only raise money but drive change in their local communities, as with its support, since March 2016, of The Woodland Trust which sees money raised spent on local woodlands, with staff getting involved in the tree planting.
A new Community Fund – which finances local community projects championed by pub managers and which they actively participate in – is among initiatives driving this modern community pub operator’s community engagement even further forward in the current year.