The WMCA and Plunkett Foundation have teamed up to celebrate National Beer Day by encouraging people to raise a toast to their favourite local pub and celebrate the vital role it plays at the heart of the community.
Even in neighbourhoods where the pub has closed or is under threat, the Foundation and WMCA believe National Beer Day offers an opportunity for communities to think about the role they can play in saving their local.
One solution can be community ownership and there are already 150 pubs across the UK that are run by the local community.
Cllr Mike Bird, leader of Walsall Council (left) and deputy leader Cllr Adrian Andrew (right) raise a glass with Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands (centre) to the WMCA's partnership with the Plunkett Foundation in helping communities save their local pubs
Community-owned pubs are more than a pub: they offer café facilities, post office services, daily essential goods and provide much-needed local jobs and training.
They also support other local businesses and offer a place that can help combat loneliness and isolation, helping to improve general wellbeing.
More than 539 pubs have been closed in the West Midlands since 2010, often with the loss of an iconic place at the heart of the local area.
On National Beer Day, the Plunkett Foundation is calling for local groups in the West Midlands to step forward to help fight the closure of their local pubs.
Partnering with the WMCA, the charity is offering free expert advice and funding to help establish community owned businesses and save pubs.
The partnership is organising a free, online workshop on Monday 5 July 2021 to help those interested in saving their local pub find out more about how to run a community business and the benefits. The short webinar is free to attend and booked via www.plunkett.co.uk/training.
Chris Cowcher, head of policy at the Plunkett Foundation, said: “For many, pubs are the heart of their community and that’s why we’re proud to be raising a glass to businesses everywhere on National Beer Day.
"We also want to help more communities to understand that they can play a role in the future of these local businesses, through a community-ownership approach. A pub owned by the community, run by the community, for the community so that we can all continue to enjoy more than a pint."
Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands and chair of the WMCA, added: “Pubs play a critical role in local communities right across the West Midlands, but they are facing an incredibly challenging time.
"The fact we’ve lost more than 500 local pubs over the last decade shows the threat the industry is facing, and that has only been exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic. That’s why I am so keen to work with the Plunkett Foundation to help save West Midlands pubs using a community-ownership model.
“On National Beer Day we’re asking people across the region to support their local pub, not just by raising a pint of their choice but by also thinking about community-ownership and the benefits that could have. We know pubs are under threat, but through this scheme people have the power to help these key community assets not just survive, but thrive as well.”
Groups interested in saving their local pub can access free advice from the Plunkett Foundation on 01993 810 730 or visit www.plunkett.co.uk