What works: Successful community pubs

The Power to Change Research Institute commissioned NatCen Social Research and WPI Economics to study established businesses in the community pub sector, to identify key success factors and draw out lessons for others operating in this sector.

Community pubs have the same business challenges as commercial pubs (such as staff, stock and building management) but they also offer other services like a post office counter, café, childcare etc. that deliver positive social and economic benefits for the community e.g. increasing a sense of belonging among residents and reducing social isolation. To meet their social impact goals and run a sustainable business, they:

  • Cross-subsidise between pub business and other services e.g. café
  • Engage volunteers (with both general and specific skills) to support set-up and running of the pub
  • Differentiate themselves from other pubs by explaining how they are more than a pub

Four businesses were studied in-depth: The Anglers Rest in Derbyshire, The Centurion in Chester, The George and Dragon in the Yorkshire Dales, and The Drovers Inn in Dorset.

By Malen Davies, Guy Miscampbell, Matt Barnard and Steve Hughes