Rural pubs across England will be expanded to include Post Office facilities, grocery shops and libraries thanks to £188,000 of government funding.
Minister Jake Berry announced 76 new projects will receive money through Pub is The Hub, an organisation that supports rural pubs to diversify and help pubs bring communities together by expanding services beyond food and drink.
Berry said: “Our pubs are at the heart of local communities supporting thousands of jobs and providing places for local residents to not only enjoy a pint, but also to get together. The encouragement, advice and support given by the Pub is The Hub is proving invaluable in helping rural pubs expand their offer.
“Pubs are not only places to drink but also home to essential community services and providing welcome meeting places to help tackle rural isolation.”
The minister will be writing to all the major players in the pubs and drinks industry, urging them to join government in supporting village locals right across the country.
Government support for Pub is The Hub is now over £500,000 and includes funding towards its Community Services Fund to help local pub licensees to better understand the needs of locals and deliver on these as best as possible.
Jointly funded by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government and independent trust Power to Change, the More Than a Pub programme was a £4m Community Pub Business Support programme established to help support community ownership of pubs in England.
John Longden, chief executive of Pub is The Hub, added: “This funding will be welcomed by many projects and will be a huge boost for thousands of people living in, and visiting, rural communities.
“Services and activities delivered by professional pub licensees (landlords) through their businesses can provide a wide range of benefits; basic groceries, library books, training courses, outlets for local suppliers and new jobs – all delivering improved levels of wellbeing through vital social connections.”