South Scotland

Is this the shape of pubs to come?

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A new scheme aimed at allowing rural pubs to provide a wider range of services for their communities has been launched in the Borders.

It is hoped the Pub is the Hub pilot project could be extended across the country.

But what, exactly, can villagers in rural parts expect to see their local hostelry provide in future?

The service in England and Wales has already provided a number of interesting possibilities.


A library

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Pints and prose have often been partners but they have proved one of the most popular combinations in business diversification in England and Wales.

A variety of bars or function rooms have been converted to their new purpose with shelving installed.

In some instances the micro-library has stepped in after the loss of local mobile or fixed library services.


A cinema

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It is a common complaint in more remote areas that the distance you have to travel to see the latest films can be quite considerable.

However, with a little bit of work, many local pubs have the potential to be turned into small-scale movie theatres.

Some even offer popcorn to make the experience that little bit more authentic.


A post office

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Many villages have seen their post offices close in recent years leaving them without a valued service.

But now eight sites across England have been helped by Pub is the Hub to incorporate such a facility into their premises.

It would probably be advisable, just the same, to write any letters before sampling the local ale.


A butcher's shop

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Many of us get more than a little peckish after a pint or two.

At a couple of pubs south of the border, you can now indulge your cravings with a sirloin steak or a rack of lamb.

It has meant villagers can once again enjoy fresh meat without having to travel some distance for the pleasure.


A market garden

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Another foodie option which has been taken up in England is to grow their own fruit and vegetables.

They can then be used in the pub's restaurant as well as being sold in a small shop.

Pubs can also run courses offering help to locals who might be tempted to grow food in their own gardens.


And pretty much anything else

Pub is the Hub lists nearly 30 different types of project it has helped to bring to pubs across England and Wales.

So the only limit on the services which might be installed seems to be the publican's imagination.

Which could mean some interesting times the next time you go for a quiet drink in the Scottish Borders.

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