That remains the case today, albeit the pace of change has never been faster.
From the outset, Stonegate sought to be a different pub company, a challenger, a disrupter even. Our mantra is to restore the pub heritage in the high streets and local communities by investing in pubs and people.
Despite continued economic and political uncertainty, the appeal of the community pub and its role – particularly in a digital age – has arguably never been more valid.
Decade after decade, we have seen millions invested by pub companies. In many instances, it is licensed hospitality that has kept the high street alive. This investment has also made a huge impact on raising both retail and professional standards and well invested career development programmes are beginning to bear fruit.
Pubs are a positive platform in raising awareness for the many different kinds of help, treatment and support that is available for issues such as mental health, dementia and our ageing populations needs. It was certainly no surprise to hear from PubAid, that over £1bn has been raised for charity by this industry during the past 10 years.
Within all our businesses, keeping staff and customers safe and legal is paramount. In addressing this, thousands of pubs work with community safety groups as well as providing sophisticated security and technical systems. Stonegate alone spends £27.3m each year satisfying this area of responsibility, an investment often overlooked by Government and the authorities we support.
While politicians have been embroiled in endless Brexit negotiations, one of the consequences has been the state of deadlock that has ensued on numerous other issues facing our country. In the context of our industry, I would urge Government, at every level, to give the pub sector the support and recognition it deserves for the positive role it undeniably plays in society at so many levels. It is up to all of us to ensure officials understand our industry as well as the economic and social contribution our businesses make both locally and nationally, thereby preserving the inclusiveness and heritage of the pub for future generations.