'People's pub' concept launched

The first in a chain of 'people's pubs' that will distribute their profits to charity is opening in Brighton next week.

The aptly-named Robin Hood will be run like a normal pub, but the net profits that it generates will be given to the newly established People's Pubs Charitable Trust. The trust will then make grants to charities, community groups and individuals.

The idea is the brainchild of Martin Webb, who founded Brighton-based leisure company C-Side Ltd in the 1990s.

"I sold off my chain of pubs and bars in 2001 and was planning to make a donation to charity," said Webb. "Then I realised that, rather than a one-off payment, it would be better to use the money and my own expertise to set up something that could raise £50,000 for charity every year."

Once the Robin Hood is up and running, Webb plans to use it as a model to help persuade large pub and brewery companies to back the 'people's pub' concept so that he can extend the chain.

"An ideal target would be to get a new pub set up each year, with each one raising money for its own local community," said Webb. "Ultimately, there is no reason why the idea couldn't be expanded to include people's restaurants and cafes too. I'd really like to see how far it could go."

The concept is based on the idea that pubs are the focus of the community, so grants from money raised by the Robin Hood will only be available to charities and groups that are based in the Brighton and Hove catchment area. Awards will also be limited to organisations that work for the benefit of people, rather than other causes such as the environment or animals.

Grants will be made every three months and details will be published every six months alongside the pub's accounts so that regulars can see exactly who they have helped over that period.

"We decided to publish all the details because I want to make sure that the whole operation is completely open and transparent," said Webb.

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