With a recent report highlighting that several pubs across the UK are closing every day, what can we do to save our beloved local from extinction?
Sacred British Institution
The public house, Great Britain’s historic and social institution, is under threat. At its traditional best the pub combines classless social communion, conviviality, tolerance, atmosphere and, of course, refreshment.
However, this vital hub of community life is fast disappearing, and it is now up to pub-lovers to play their role in keeping our local pubs alive.
Supporting and Saving Your Local
The best way to start helping to stem the rapid decline of British pubs – in November 2008 they were closing at a rate of 37 a week – is of course to visit your local on a regular basis and encourage your friends and family to do likewise. This will help keep your pub healthy and in business.
But what can you do if your local pub is under threat? There are many campaigning options open to the dedicated pub would-be saviour.
Talk to the Owners
The best place to begin is with the current owner, whether they are an individual, pub company or brewery. An open dialogue with the proprietor will firstly help establish why the future of the pub is threatened and any other important facts. It will also give you an opportunity to make them aware of the strength of local feeling against such a move.
If the pub is still open but business is flagging then you may be able to help revive its future prospects by working with them to find new ideas to increase custom.
Contact Local Officials
Simply speaking to the owner and pleading with them to see reason is unlikely to be good enough for them to change their decision, of course. You need more official clout for your campaign. This is where local councillors and MPs come into the equation.
As it is the job of councillors to represent local concerns, they should be keen to assist a campaign to save a pub in their ward. Local council offices will provide details of which councillors you should contact.
It is also worth trying to persuade your local MP to support your campaign. If you get them on board then you will not only have political might on your side but also their involvement will attract the attentions of the media.
Local Media Publicity
The media are a valuable ally in your fight and getting their support could make or break your campaign. Media interest will significantly increase the number of people that are aware of what you are trying to achieve and may increase your support as a result.
Get in touch with your local TV or radio station, or local paper, and perhaps they would be interested in supporting your campaign. You could also raise awareness by issuing a press release and asking people to write letters to a local newspaper.
As campaigns are by their nature not quick fixes, but often long running struggles, it can sometimes be difficult maintaining supporter momentum over a long period. To alleviate this and keep the passion full blooded it is worthwhile creating your own media support by issuing a bi-annually or quarterly newsletter.
Start a Petition
A campaign needs people power – there’s no point saving a local pub just so that you alone can carry on having a game of darts with a few pints on a Friday night. A great way to rally the troops is to start a petition.
A petition will give your campaign foundations by showing the level of support to the cause. Also, not only will you be able to claim support from a large number of people, but the collected supporter contact details could be used for further campaigning plans, such as establishing an email action group.
Local Meetings and Action Groups
Another way to rally local supporters is to organise a meeting. This could feature speakers or be simply a discussion amongst attendees. It is worth asking local media to promote the event.
To improve the organisation of your campaign and give a degree of purpose and power, it is advisable to set an action group to co-ordinate it.
Do Your Research
Finally it is vital to collect together as much information about the pub as you can to help support your cause. For instance, you could look into the history of the building and business to see whether it is has historical value. You could also conduct a survey of local residents as a way of highlighting the level of demand for a pub and creating new ideas to help make the business a success.