As we end the nightmare year that was 2020, it is crucial that we all learn lessons from the pandemic quickly, as we look to the new year and hopefully a return to some form of normality in the future.
For many of us, a return to our local pub, bar, sports or social club will be high on our Christmas wish list. However, for that to become a reality, we need to act now to ensure these much-loved community assets survive the winter.
It is with this in mind that I wanted to share a local grant scheme we have launched in Bexley to support our pubs and clubs. Hopefully others will be inspired to follow suit and I am more than happy to help them do so.
As part of the additional restrictions funding provided by government to support a variety of businesses, we have used our discretion to launch a special winter support scheme of approximately £1 million for local independent pubs, bars and licensed sports and social clubs to apply. This is in recognition of the significant financial pressures they currently face and their importance to our local communities and economy.
The top-up grants range between £6,000 and £14,000, depending on the size of the business and we expect to help over 100 pubs and clubs. These include local cricket, football, rugby and tennis clubs across Bexley.
Understandably, there remains a wide range of opinions on the effectiveness of lockdowns and the tier system, particularly given the impact on lives and livelihoods. Irrespective of your position, it is clear that the hospitality and leisure sectors require more support if they are to survive and thrive again in the future.
I hope that this short article highlights there is action we can all take now to Back British Pubs and Clubs.
Cllr Louie French, Deputy Leader of the London Borough of Bexley and Conservative Parliamentary Candidate for Eltham 2019