Pub staff skills 'vital in fight against loneliness and isolation'

By Emily Hawkins contact

- Last updated on GMT

Battling loneliness: “Pubs are places, which particularly for older people, offer a safe and sociable space to meet other people," according to Robin Hewings from the Campaign to End Loneliness
Battling loneliness: “Pubs are places, which particularly for older people, offer a safe and sociable space to meet other people," according to Robin Hewings from the Campaign to End Loneliness

Related tags: Heineken, Community, mental health, Public house, Beer

A new survey has highlighted the devastating impact of pub closures on communities and isolated individuals.

The Open Arms​ report was commissioned by The Campaign to End Loneliness and part of a collaboration between Heineken and Loughborough University.

Some 86% of survey respondents said when a pub closes the local community suffers.

Just over two third (64%) said their local was one of the main places that people living in their area can socialise.

Conversations between regulars and staff in pubs had a significant impact on alleviating feelings of isolation, the report found.

Pub staff posses a "range of soft skills relating to customer service and communication," the report said.

Vital resources

It concluded that “efforts should be made to acknowledge the skills and experience of the pub trade,” and stated these skills were “vital resources in the fight against loneliness and social isolation.” 

“Important steps can be taken to improve the image of work in the sector,” it added.

Robin Hewings, director of campaigns, policy and research at the Campaign to End Loneliness said the coronavirus pandemic had “brought the issue of loneliness into sharp relief”.

“We’ve seen both older and younger people affected by feelings of loneliness,” he explained. “Pubs are places, which particularly for older people, offer a safe and sociable space to meet other people.”

Important role

The report recommended seating and layout “should be varied” in order to meet the needs of customers with physical impairments or mobility issues, alongside considering adjustments to lighting and noise levels. 

James Crampton, corporate affairs director at Heineken UK said: “Of course we understand the need for restrictions to safeguard the well being of the nation but this report recognises the important role that the great British pub plays in communities and we don’t want to forget that.

"Pubs are hubs of communities in every village, town and city. They’re so much more than just a place to have a pint – they’re a place to be with each other, and as soon as is safe to do so, we cannot wait to welcome people back.”

The report was published as part of Heineken’s Brewing Good Cheer campaign, which would usually facilitate Christmas lunches in pubs. In lockdown, the campaign has seen pub volunteers chat to isolated or vulnerable people on the phone.

Related topics: Health & safety

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