The initiative – thought to be the only one of its kind in the country – is backed by the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) and designed to keep people in jobs, maintain the role of the pub as a community hub, and help them to diversify by providing extra services for residents.
Rural pubs are at the heart of many Leicestershire communities, but have been forced to remain closed under the area's Tier 3 restrictions since the lifting of the national lockdown earlier this month.
The one-off payments offered by the Council will be available to pubs in Leicestershire alongside the paltry £1,000 grant pledged by the Government to each of the country's wet-led pubs in early December as compensation for forcing the majority of them to stay shut under both Tier 2 and Tier 3 restrictions.
"Pubs are often the beating heart of a small, rural community – and hospitality has taken a big hit during the pandemic," says Councillor Blake Pain, deputy leader of Leicestershire County Council.
"We’ve ploughed almost £3m into supporting community groups and small businesses – and want to go further. That’s why we’re doubling the money provided by the Government and offering £1,000 to help struggling rural pubs.
"We recognise their plight – and want to do all we can to support them through these tough times. We’re hoping to start awarding money as early next week so I’d urge pubs which meet the criteria to get in touch."
Reacting to the announcement, BBPA chief executive Emma McClarkin called on other county councils to follow Leicestershire's lead.
“We have been calling on the Government to increase the £1,000 one off payment for pubs impacted by the tighter restrictions, highlighting that it is not enough to cover local pubs fixed costs let alone compensate for the loss of the business over the crucial Christmas and New Year trading period," says McClarkin
“I am pleased that Leicestershire County Council understands the vital social and economic role that local pubs play in their local communities and is willing to offer more support to help their rural pubs survive this bleakest of times and continue to warmly serve their communities in the future. I would encourage other County Councils to follow suit and Government to take note.”
For details on how community pubs in the area can apply for the extra grant money, click here.