Pub operator Brakspear is launching Brakspear’s Giving Back, a new initiative to support worthy causes chosen by its 120 pubs through a match funding scheme, and to upscale the company’s long-standing efforts to protect Britain’s bee population.
Brakspear’s Giving Back will be funded by a £25,000 annual contribution from Brakspear. Requests for match funding will be welcomed from any pubs within Brakspear’s leased and tenanted estate or its Honeycomb Houses managed division who have already raised money for a local charity or good cause. Applications will be reviewed by a team of eight Brakspear’s Giving Back committee members, including three licensees from the L&T division and head office personnel, chaired by Alexa Davies, wife of chief executive Tom Davies.
Separately, sums from Brakspear’s Giving Back will go towards bee conservation, which Brakspear has supported for some years. They have recently installed 12 beehives across three L&T sites and two Honeycomb Houses, working with professional beekeeper John Farrell of Chiltern Bee to ensure the colonies thrive in their new homes. They will also look to sell the honey produced by the bees to raise money to go back into maintaining and potentially expanding their beehives.
Brakspear chief executive Tom Davies said: “Our pubs are all about people: the people who work in them, drink in them, and live in the communities around them. The aim of Brakspear’s Giving Back is to support the health and well-being of these people, and we are looking forward to receiving applications from across the estate.
“By structuring our donations in this way, we know that we’ll be making a difference to the charities and causes that our licensees and their teams know are important to their local communities.
“At the same time, we are expanding our support for Britain’s bee population, a cause that’s been close to our hearts for some years; the Brakspear and Honeycomb Houses logos feature a bee and many of our pubs have beautiful gardens that rely on bees. Our pub teams, customers and communities have been thrilled by the installation of our beehives, and that engagement will only grow as they watch the colonies develop through the seasons and see home-grown honey appear in our pubs.”
Brakspear and bees
Brakspear has installed beehives at two Honeycomb Houses: The Frogmill near Cheltenham and The Lion near Bicester, and at three tenanted pubs in its heartland around Henley: The Cherry Tree in Stoke Row, The Chequers at Berrick Salome and The Hare & Hounds at Sonning Common.
Unusually for new colonies, the Brakspear bees have already produced some honey. John Farrell said: “This is an unexpected bonus, as it usually takes colonies a year to settle in before they yield any honey. We’re pleased as it means the bees must be happy in their new pub garden homes and will continue to produce honey.”
The Brakspear logo has its roots in a centuries-old connection to Nicholas Breakspear, the only English Pope and a distant relative of the Brakspear family. Reigning as Pope Adrian IV from 1154-1159, his papal seal included a bee, apparently as a reminder of the ‘B’ at the beginning of his name.