Volunteer Voice - John Crossley
Cheltenham branch chair John Crossley describes his experience of using community pubs month to increase member involvement and improve links with pubs.
Community Pubs Month was the catalyst for the introduction of our community programme to support our pubs who do good work in this area and alsoto encourage those who want to do more. We had fourbroad aims to:
- - Strengthen our relationship with our pubs
- - Seek to increase branch member participation
- - Help to raise the profile of the pub as a community asset
- - Have fun
Our branch committee now has a dedicated representative for Community Pubs and our monthly business meetings include a review of our community programme.
We started by contacting our pubs and asked them to let us know what they do to help and support their community and we offered to help them by publicising any future community events through our branch website and social media channels. We also offered to assist them to develop a range of community initiatives and we opened a community mailbox for them (and our members) to notify us about planned events.
We approachedtwo local charities to explore the opportunity of our pubs getting involved to help meet a community need, often through the use of pub facility (i.e. meeting room ora car park for a mobile drop in unit). We have also tried to identify if any our pubs could get involved with local community groups who are putting on events for The Great Get Together in June.
So how is it going?
The early signs are promising, since April, we have publicised 9 events to our members and social media followers and received thanks from the pubs who put on the event.
The community programmeseems to have helped open up greater levels of engagement between the branch and some of our pubs who seem appreciative of the support we can offer.We are currently working with two pubs who expressed an interest in expanding their community credentials.
It is too early to assess if the programme has encouraged greater levels of member participation but we have certainly found that there are more excellent beer related social events taking place in our patch than we were originally aware of.
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Campaigners in Somerset who saved a 150-year-old village pub from closure have been awarded CAMRA’s prestigious Pub Saving Award, recognising the communities that work hard to keep their beloved locals open.