At a special awards ceremony held on 27 September at The Lord Binning Pub & Kitchen in Cheshire, Enterprise announced the National Winner for their inaugural Community Hero Awards.
The awards were created this year to honour Publicans who make inspiring contributions to their community. The awards inspired applications from across the nation, from which 18 were chosen as the Regional Winners of 2012. The representing Publicans for each of the winning pubs were invited to the Community Hero Awards ceremony on 27 September to receive their award and enjoy an evening of celebration.
The special event was attended by all of the winning Publicans, the judging panel (including Peter W. Thomas, CEO BII Council; John Longden, CEO Pub is the Hub; Gary Gilchrist, Chairman North Hayes Pub Watch and Publican; and Enterprise’s Commercial Director Ed Cottrell and Regional Manager Michael Ekberg), and other selected representatives from Enterprise. The Chief Operating Officer for Enterprise, Simon Townsend, presented the awards with Gary Gilchrist.
The National Winner was revealed to be The Hare Inn of Leighton Buzzard. The Hare has shown itself to be a true community pub in a variety of ways, from organising local events to benefit veterans and the homeless, to allowing local teams and committees to use the pub as a regular meeting place.
Having helped over 150 local veterans and raised over £20,000 for the cause so far, The Hare was the first pub to be recognised as a ‘Pub Hub’ by PTSD Resolution, a charity that strives to help veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) reintegrate into a normal work and family life.
The 'Pub Hub' initiative seeks to raise awareness of military PTSD. The Hare has taken the scheme on by raising funds for the charity, arranging therapy sessions for sufferers, assisting in re-housing and providing a sympathetic setting for veterans. The initiative has now grown to include 25 pubs across the country.
The Hare’s commitment to its community has also been recognised by the Leighton-Linslade Town Council who made the manager, Jim Woolley, a Honorary Burgess in 2012 for his services to the community.
Jim & Naomi Woolley, managers of the pub, plan to use the £10,000 Community Hero Award to further the support services they offer the ex-service personnel, as well as extend the 'Pub Hub' concept across the country.