New research from Greene King and YouGov reveals that the pub plays an important role in communities at this time of year, with 72% of those surveyed agreeing that their local pub provides an important place for people who might be lonely during the festive period.
A new consumer survey, conducted by Greene King and YouGov, found that:
> 43% of people usually go to the pub with friends and family in the lead up to Christmas.
> 42% of those who celebrate Christmas said they will miss going to the pub with friends and family this year if Coronavirus restrictions remain in place, second only to attending parties and events at the homes of friends and family (56%).
Lou Skinner has been the general manager of Greene King pub, the Grapes in Bury St Edmunds for 15 years and has always put her community at the heart of what she does. However, when the pandemic hit, she stepped up her support even more.
She said, “I know a lot of my elderly regulars are lonely or vulnerable. During the lockdowns I’ve wanted to help the community and do something to put a smile on their face. I took a hotpot around to a neighbour who is now thankfully in remission with cancer and it was like he’d won a million dollars!
“Christmas is about looking after people and making them feel special. It’s a heart-breaking time right now, particularly with the pub not being able to be open for our locals who get lonely at this time of year. I’m hoping to do a Christmas party with our regulars – as long as restrictions allow – and I’ll be putting on games and presents for them.
'Christmas is so uncertain, so whatever we do we have to make it magical. Until then I’ll be cooking them the odd roast dinner to cheer them up.”
The findings of the research showed that those surveyed believe that pubs are important for providing a place for people who might be lonely during the Christmas period, to come together with their local community.
Greg Sage, corporate affairs director at Greene King, said, “The festive season is an important time of year for families and friends, and pubs are the heartbeat of the community, providing a place for loved ones to spend quality time together.
“We know that this Christmas is unlikely to be like any other, but we also recognise that people really want to be able to visit pubs and be able to socialise safely and it’s especially important for those who would otherwise find themselves alone.
'That is why earlier this year we invested a significant amount of money in our Pub Safe measures to ensure the protection of our customers and team members and we want to be able to open as many of our pubs as possible this Christmas.”