Rural champ ‘Pub is The Hub’ launches in Scotland with grants of up to £4K

Mark Baird and John Longden

Scottish pub owners and operators in the Borders will now be able to apply for grants of up to £4,000 towards diversification schemes to improve local services after Pub is The Hub, the rural pubs champion, launched its initiative in partnership with Scottish Borders Council in Scotland.  The initiative, which is initially a pilot, is also being backed by the  Scottish Government to the tune of  £30,000, is also sponsored by Diageo and the Prince of Wales Countryside Fund.

Over 60 pub operators, suppliers and local authority representatives attended the launch event in Lauder which began with a video announcement from Richard Lochhead, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Food and Environment, about the funding.

Pub is The Hub is a not-for-profit organisation which was founded in 2001 by HRH The Prince of Wales. in turn. Since its inception, it has supported hundreds of pub licensees and communities in diversifying their businesses in England and Wales, and this is its first initiative in Scotland.

The Pub is The Hub team offer advice, support and funding opportunities for pub operators and owners who are considering a diversification scheme to improve and support rural services.  Examples of such schemes include siting post offices, shops, libraries, internet cafes, allotment schemes, school dinners, cash point machines, IT training and community cinemas in pubs.

Richard Lochhead said,  “Pubs are often at the heart of rural communities and in some places are the only outlet left in the village. This scheme is a great way for businesses, the public sector and communities to work together to provide viable local services which contribute to the social fabric and economy of rural Scotland. That is why I am pleased to confirm the Scottish Government is providing £30,000 support for the Scottish Borders Pub is The Hub pilot.”

Chief Executive of Pub is The Hub, John Longden, said, “We are pleased that the Scottish Borders are ready to take the plunge with us and delighted that Scottish Government is supporting the scheme with some essential funding to give licensees the impetus to ‘have a go’. We are also grateful to the ever-present support of the Prince’s Countryside Fund and Diageo in all our major projects.”

Pub is The Hub has engaged the support of Gordon Izatt, an experienced advisor in licensed hospitality, to act as the advisor for Scotland and he will be the local point of contact and advice for licensees undertaking any schemes. In the meantime, anyone interested in finding out more can call the office on 01 423 546165 or email

Mark Baird, Head of Industry Affairs and Alcohol Policy at Diageo is pictured with  John Longden, Chief Executive of Pub is The Hub.