Pub is The Hub’s wonderful team of regional advisors continue to help great publicans to diversify and provide essential local services.
In the second in our regular series putting a spotlight on our advisors, we learn more about advisor Terry’s industry background, his experiences with pub diversification projects, tips for publicans looking to diversify and his thoughts on pubs
What region and counties do you cover as a regional advisor? I cover all of East Anglia encompassing Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire and Lincolnshire, having recently handed over Essex to our regional advisor Jeremy English. At times I have also advised pubs in the counties of Northamptonshire and Bedfordshire as needed.
Background in pub industry: I have been in the pub industry for 50 years, joining in 1971 working for Whitbread, Darley’s, Davenports and Elgoods Brewery in a variety of roles in regional management. I retired after 26 years as the trade director at Elgoods and then joined PiTH.
What do you love most about pubs and publicans? I love walking into a pub for the first time and meeting publicans, who are generally very positive. Publicans have to be gregarious to take on the role and they make the pub work. Over the years I have met some brilliant publicans who create a welcoming atmosphere and go that extra mile, reinventing the pub to make it a community hub.
Involvement with Pub is The Hub: I have been a PiTH advisor for 11 years. I decided to retire as the trade director of Elgoods on reaching my 65th birthday in June 2010, and a couple of months before this PiTH’s chief executive John Longden heard on the bush-telegraph and contacted me. He then came to see me at the brewery, we had lunch and John talked me into joining PiTH (head hunted at 65!)
I have advised on an extensive range of projects ranging from cinemas, village stores, takeaways, community cafes, post offices, libraries, play areas, allotments, tourist information and IT hubs.
What do you enjoy about being an advisor? I enjoy meeting publicans because of their natural outgoing nature, and seeing their well-run pubs. I love it when a project comes to fruition, which is very rewarding, a win-win situation for everyone. Also after 50 years in the business I can hopefully help them to realise the pubs full potential.
Highlight projects: Before I joined PiTH John Longden invited me to Clarence House in 2007, to celebrate the fifth anniversary of Pub is The Hub. When HRH Prince Charles, who helped to initiate Pub is The Hub in 2001, came to speak to the group I was with he appeared to have three dart flights in his top pocket, he explained that he had just been playing darts with Princes William and Harry.
Some years later at The Purleigh Bell in Essex, Bell, Purleigh, Essex – Pub is The Hub, which PiTH supported with a cinema project, they were about to take their dart board down before The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall arrived, and I suggested that they should leave it in situ. When the royals walked around the pub the darts captain asked HRH Prince Charles if he would like to throw an arrow, and both he and Camilla did and the next day all the national newspapers had that picture on their front pages https://www.pubisthehub.org.uk/news/the-bell-ap-peals-to-the-royal-couple/.
The Purleigh Bell cinema is a great success story and asset to the community with the nearest cinema a 20-mile round trip.
The Boot, Freston, Suffolk: On my first visit to this pub to discuss the proposed cinema project I arrived in the carpark and received a text from the licensee Mike Keen, saying I could find him in the rear garden. We met in the garden, then as we were beginning to discuss matters a large blackbird flew inbetween us and landed on Mikes arm! He explained that it was his pet raven called Gripper, and we walked into the pub with Gripper still on his arm. The cinema is a triumph with films for family entertainment plus sporting events and also special classic films for those living with dementia. Find out more about it here: Pub re-boots with a community cinema (pubisthehub.org.uk)
Projects you have helped deliver since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic:
The Ferry Inn, Stokesby, Norfolk – the pub sits on the banks of the River Bure on the Norfolk Broads and the project was to provide a village store for both the villagers and the boating fraternity so that they could get their provisions for their onward trips. Publican Alison completed the store just before the first lockdown and it became so successful during the Covid lockdowns they have had to double its size.
The White Horse, Corton, Suffolk – publicans Beverley and Chris had already completed a village store in 2019 and because of its success decided to create a community café and takeaway service. The store and takeaway flourished during the Covid-19 lockdowns, giving Bev and Chris a lifeline throughout the pandemic, and the café now complements these facilities.
The Queen, Brandeston, Suffolk – publican Alexander and his partner Caroline set about reinventing the pub so that it could better serve local residents. They setup a temporary village store within the premises, with home deliveries to the most vulnerable and bringing people together who previously had never used the pub before. They have now made this a permanent feature adding a café and bakery.
Proudest moment as a Pub is The Hub regional advisor: PiTH wining the Publican Awards Outstanding Achievement Award in 2013. I am proud to work with such inspirational people and be part of the PiTH family, a great team that helped to put PiTH on the map.
Key tips you would give a publican looking at diversifying their business:
- Look outside of their usual pub offer, making sure that they don’t provide a service that already exists nearby.
- Once they have formulated their thoughts on a possible project talk to the locals – get them on your side, send out a questionnaire, to see what the residents want and get the parish councils support.
- Always check with the Local Planning Authority before commencing a project, and once completed let everyone know through your website and social media and give PiTH a mention!
Do you think the work Pub is The Hub will be even more valuable to good publicans moving forward in 2021?
I think the Covid-19 pandemic has made our ‘Join Inn – Last Orders for Loneliness’ campaign even more important now.
Well run pubs have always been the focal point of village life, and if publicans can direct their attention to tackling loneliness issues too, alongside diversifying, this will bring more benefit to people in their local area.
When a project is successful it brings the village to life, increasing footfall, and often helps combat isolation and loneliness. During this past 16 months the Covid restrictions and lockdowns have impacted on everyone, and we should therefore raise awareness about loneliness and highlight the social benefits a pub diversifying brings to the community and the ‘Join Inn’ campaign will help PiTH to do this.