‘Lifeline’ community pubs have 100% survival rate

By Emily Hawkins

- Last updated on GMT

Rural services: community pubs have a 100% survival rate according to a new report
Rural services: community pubs have a 100% survival rate according to a new report

Related tags Community pubs Rural area

Community pubs have bucked national trends of pub closures and are booming, according to a report published by the Plunkett Foundation.

The organisation published its A Better Form of Business​ report into community pubs and highlighted that none had ceased trading since its records began.

However, a few community-owned sites have since been transferred into private ownership.

The community pub sector grew by 13% in 2018, with 11 new openings – just a slight drop on the figure of 13 in 2017.

This brings the total number of known community pubs to 95 at the end of 2018.

Profit concerns

The 11 sites opened last year were opened after a combined total of £3.5m was raised. However, operators told the foundation sustaining or improving profitability was their biggest concern for the upcoming 12 months.

This concern reflects the fact that many community pubs operate on modest net profits and some at at a deficit, the foundation said.

The foundation compared the survival rate of community pubs to the general ‘death rate’ of 10-12% of all UK businesses per year.

It also stood the statistics in contrast with a downward trend for pubs, with more than 13,000 pubs closing their doors in the past two decades.

The number of new enquiries to Plunkett Foundation from communities exploring community pub ownership was 148, which it said reflected the necessity of services provided by pubs in rural areas.

Answer to challenges

Plunkett Foundation executive director James Alcock said the reports proved the potential of community business models and their importance to rural areas.

He said: “These figures come out at a time at which we are seeing real challenges to rural communities with widespread closures of pubs and the loss of rural shops.

“The reports show that community businesses are often the answer to these challenges – and it is heart-warming to see the ‘quite remarkable’ continued success of the community business model.”

Community-owned businesses in isolated rural locations are often a “lifeline” to their regulars, Alcock added.

He continued: “The issues of isolation and loss of amenities are well known – and the reports show that community businesses do so much more than just being a pub or a shop as they tackle these issues.

“Community businesses are breathing new life into rural communities across the UK.”

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