The money came from category sponsor Coca-Cola, which gave funds to all six shortlisted pubs to help them continue the community work that got them into the final.
All shortlisted finalists in the category received £1,000 to donate while the category winner took home £10,000 for a charity or good cause of their choice, thanks to the generous support from Coca-Cola Europacific Partners.
The move followed Coca-Cola’s extensive support of the 2020 awards, which saw all category winners claim a grant for a business benefitting project for their outlet or to donate money to a charity or good cause.
Coca-Cola senior community partnerships manager Holly Firmin said: “It’s been so inspiring to see how pubs and their customers have stepped up to support local people during the pandemic – despite many facing real challenges themselves.”
She added that funding the donations is the company’s way of saying a huge well done and thank you.
Here are how some of the finalists used the charity donations:
The Last Post
North Yorkshire venue the Last Post Remembrance Bar and Museum in Thornaby – just outside of Stockton-on-Tees – used its £10,000 prize money to enhance the support and educational services it provides for local residents.
Licensee Julie Cooper and her staff at the pub won the Community Hero category due after it was recognised for the food donations and mental health advice the team provided to those in need, since the start of the pandemic.
This was alongside Covid concerts, karaoke competitions, memorial services, school trips and more the team has continued to host and organise.
The funding will be used to hire a minibus to take elderly and isolated members of the community on trips around North Yorkshire.
One of those is 100-year-old army veteran Tommy Trotter, who visits the Last Post’s veteran hub every day.
The venue will also now be able to implement interactive digital displays in the pub’s war memorial museum to help make the experience more interactive for school-aged children.
Julie Cooper said: “We were absolutely over the moon with the award win. It was just the boost we needed following such a difficult couple of years for people in Thornaby and the surrounding area.
“The funding from Coca-Cola means we can continue to give much needed support for the elderly and prolong the legacy of our veteran museum, which forms a huge part of the community’s identity and is such an important place of remembrance for our fallen heroes.”
The Lion at Treorchy
The Lion at Treorchy in Rhondda, south Wales donated £1,000 to the Improving Rhondda Foodshare.
The pub supports dozens of sports teams and community groups, works with local schools and does a huge amount of charitable fundraising.
Adrian Emmett and his wife Rhiannon who run the pub realised Treorchy didn’t have a fruit and veg shop so during lockdown, they opened one outside the Lion to help ensure residents didn’t have to travel far to get food.
This proved an essential service to the area so the shop, called Green Valley, has remained permanently open.
Last Christmas, the husband-and-wife duo prepared more than 100 veg boxes outside the pub and wanted to do more this year, which is the reason why they donated £1,000 from Coca-Cola to Improving Foodshare.
The cash will go towards Christmas hampers for those in need in the local community, containing items such as fruit, vegetables, cereals and jam alongside a £10 voucher to spend in local shops.
Adrian Emmett said: “This is a proud moment for us, our pub and our town. Everyone here looks out for each other and does their bit and you can feel the community spirit wherever you go.
“It’s great this has been recognised and we can do even more good work in the community thanks to the funding from Coca-Cola.
“This is the latest in a series of award successes for the Lion and Treorchy is the UK’s reigning High Street of the Year.
“It is undoubtedly the commitment, hard work, dedication and drive of the whole community of Treorchy and the surrounding area that has helped put our town on the map and has fostered a sense of community spirit that truly stands out.”
Lancashire-based pub the Bellflower in Garstang donated £1,000 to local children’s charity The Rainbow Hub.
When the pandemic hit, the pub’s general manager Heather Brandwood and her team organised a range of events and activities including socially distanced Easter Egg hunts to Christmas drop ins.
The team also delivered food parcels to families in vulnerable circumstances and have donated more than 3,000 meals over the past year.
Following restrictions easing, the pub has recently started a period poverty project, which provides resources to those unable to access sanitary products – alongside a second-hand school uniform service.
The funding is particularly poignant for Heath as she has also been raising money for her two-year-old niece Scarlett Steeden-Smith, who suffers with cerebral palsy, a cyst on the brain and chronic kidney disease.
The £1,000 has been donated to The Rainbow Hub, which provides therapeutic services for children and young people – support that has been vital in helping meet Scarlett’s complex needs.
Heather said: “Being able to keep people’s spirits up and supporting those most in need over the past few years has meant a lot to us and we’re so grateful for the recognition we have received from the Great British Pub Awards and from Coca-Cola.
“I personally am especially grateful because this funding means we can support a charity really close to my heart and that has played such a vital role in helping my family to manage my niece’s health.”
The Roebuck Inn
Multiple operators Tim Bird and Mary McLaughlin set up the Mobberley Pub Hub at their site the Roebuck Inn as the coronavirus pandemic hit with two team members.
The service, which provided a safe haven for people to collect takeaway food and more, evolved from grocery boxes and freshly-prepared meals to heat at home, a ‘shrub hub’ selling plants and the creation of a ‘Hub’ shop featuring local produce and wine, which is still in operation.
The team at the Cheshire-based pub have now turned their attention to Mobberley Parish Church St Wilfrid’s, which has also helped keep people connected throughout the pandemic.
Last year, the church bought a property in the village centre to provide a safe space for local people to come together.
The Beacon has recently opened to the public and there are plans to install a community café, a parent and tots group, a dementia choir, homework club, men’s mental health group and a youth drop-in facility.
Tim Bird said: “We are immensely grateful for the recognition we have received through the Great British Pub Awards and from Coca-Cola.
“Our team work tirelessly for the good of the Roebuck and our local community and we could not be prouder of them.
“The donation from Coca-Cola will go to our beloved Mobberley Parish Council and its reverend Ian Blay.
“The church plays a big part in our community and we are pleased the donation will be able to support the new Beacon facility."
The Dog & Parrot
Located eight miles west of Nottingham city centre, the Dog & Parrot in Eastwood has donated its £1,000 to the Eastwood Memory Café.
The pub, which is run by David and Kathryn Boam, is a popular real ale house as well as a community hub that does a huge amount of charitable fundraising.
It focuses on supporting ex-forces and other important causes close to the team and its customers such as The Children’s Air Ambulance, MS Society UK, Dementia UK and Cancer Research UK.
The bar is open to local groups and charities for free use during the day, which is utilised by The Royal British Legion, the local National Trust group, running clubs and many others including the Eastwood Memory Café.
The team’s relationship with the café stems about four years and the pub is home to the cafés Monday Club.
When lockdown restrictions were in place, arrangements were made to continue with virtual Monday meetings on a weekly basis, in a bid to support the routines of community members living with dementia. There was also someone in the pub every Monday in case anyone popped by.
Kathryn Boam said: “Our plan was always to set the pub up as a community hub rather than just a business and we are proud to be so firmly rooted in our local community.
“When the country was in lockdown, we supported the most vulnerable and isolated members of the Dog & Parrot family, visiting them, delivering supplies and calling them regularly as well as helping people build and maintain their vital support networks including via the services provided by the Eastwood Memory Café.
“To be shortlisted at the Great British Pub Awards and recognised for our efforts means the world and inspires us to carry on and do even more.”