This category seeks to recognise pubs that play a large role in the local community, either through raising money for respectable causes or providing a service that goes above and beyond what would ordinarily be expected from a pub.
Bevendean Community Pub, Brighton
A strong finalist last year, the Bevy, as the Bevendean is known, is a prime example of what can happen when the community rallys round to save the local pub. A former trouble spot, this pub was one local law enforcement officers were not keen to see survive, but a strong and committed campaign by local residents has seen a jewel of a pub rise from the ashes.
Offering a safe, all-embracing space for the entire community, this pub has quickly become a focal point for one of the more deprived areas of Brighton. A wide range of community-focused activities has resulted in a great operation which now unites all members of the diverse surrounding community.
The hard work and battling of local residents has really paid off and given the whole area a pub to be proud of.
The Cellar House, Norwich
Charity sits at the heart of this East Anglian-based business, with staff and customers working together to raise impressive amounts of money for a range of local and national causes, including East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices, the Saint Clare School for Special Education and the RNIB.
The pub also offers meeting facilities for local groups, playing host to everything from knitting circles to a mahjong club and an older ladies’ fitness group.
Annual fun days have become a regular feature, with the community getting involved to raise funds for the village residents’ association to build a local playground.
Last but not least, the pub stepped into the breach when the village post office closed and now runs a postal service with improved opening hours from the bar, as well as offering the chance to have a drink or two.
Chandos Arms, Colindale, north London
Described as the “beating heart of the Colindale community”, this pub goes above and beyond standard operations. With a strong emphasis on working hard for the local community and making a point of caring for people facing difficult times, it has already gained recognition by winning a Mayor’s Civic Award from the Borough of Barnet.
As well as providing free meeting facilities for local groups, including the Barnet Deaf Football Club and a local blind group, the pubprovided free accommodation for an orphaned, pregnant, homeless young woman for more than 10 months while she waited for housing to become available.
This is a business that has taken on a struggling operation with a poor reputation, turned its fortunes round and firmly embraced the diverse community around it with compassion.
Chaplin’s & the Cellar Bar, Bournemouth
Winner of this category in 2015, Harry Secombe’s bar is the jewel in the crown of the local Boscombe community.As well as engaging in the wider political spectrum, the pub offers opportunities to local artists and musicians, helping create a special atmosphere that ripples out into the wider area – the pub estimates it contributes more than £50,000 a year to the local arts scene, outside of any charitable work or fundraising.
Team members volunteer in the local community, while Harry engages with local forums, Pubwatch and has been heavily involved in organising the area’s neighbourhood plan.
The pub’s function room is free to community groups and local university students are also given the opportunity to use various aspects of the business for project work.
The Hastings, Seaton Delaval, Nthmb
With a dedicated focus on a single local charity, new entrants to the pub game Paul Thompson and Peter Evans have created a lynchpin within the local community.
Having chosen local charity Daft as a Brush Cancer Patient Care shortly after arriving in the area, Paul and Peter have gone to greatlengths to support the charity, even taking part in the Great North Run and launching a week of activities to support the cause, which has quickly become a fixture in the local community’s diary.
Engagement with residents is one thing but the pub has also forged close links with another fellow operator in the area, to the benefit of both.In a short space of time, Paul and Peter have built an impressive relationship with the local community despite being complete strangers on their arrival – an achievement in itself and one to be applauded.
The Firbank Pub & Kitchen, Manchester
Defending his title after winning last year, Simon Delaney has certainly not rested on his laurels since tasting success. This is a pub that is firmly at the heart of the surrounding Wythenshaw community and winning the title has only helped cement the pub’s beloved position with local residents.
With a superbly energetic landlord and landlady driving the business, this is a pub that goes the extra mile, taking on long-term unemployed to work within the business, and helping to promote the wider area outside of the pub.
Services it offers are wide-ranging and impressive, from hosting the Wythenshaw Good Neighbours scheme and providing lifts to some of the members, through to supporting and sponsoring local sports teams and providing Payzone facilities for local residents to pay for key utilities.
Tickets for The Great British Pub Awards can be bought by phoning 01293 846508. For more information about the event, visit its dedicated website.