If you wanted an excuse to get out of dry January this year, do it for your local pub.
The end of 2021 saw most English pubs suffer huge losses, with takings falling as much as 60% in some venues compared with 2019 revenues, said UK Hospitality.
With December equal to three months’ takings in the sector, the effect has been devastating for Manchester’s pubs, which find themselves needing your support now more than ever.
For those who can’t bring themselves to commit to Dry January, this is the perfect out.
For others who really do want to cut back on their alcohol intake, that’s fine too, but hospitality bosses are asking people to consider going out for a meal or opting for a low or no alcohol alternative as a way of offering support.
UK Hospitality figures show that business had been nearing pre-pandemic levels before the arrival of the Omicron variant and a collapse in consumer confidence that lead to widespread cancellations and huge losses during a key period for hospitality.
It seems that most Brits chose to stay at home on both sides of Christmas, with sales down, on average, 60% on Christmas Day, 25% on Christmas Eve and 35% on Boxing Day – meaning many venues haven’t had the chance to build up the usual cash reserves that help see them through the ‘dry’ period at the start of the new year.
Kate Nicholls, the trade body’s chief executive, told The Guardian: “I think we could definitely dispense with it [dry January].”
Calling on people who might typically avoid alcohol at this year to try something else, such as a low (or no) alcohol drink or opting to visit a pub for a meal, she added: “This year, there are an awful lot more non-alcoholic options available that are really good quality, so there’s no excuse not to go out and support your local hospitality business.”
Manchester’s Night Time Economy Adviser Sacha Lord has also joined calls to support pubs this January, taking to Twitter to urge people: “With the decimation of Xmas cancellations… If there was ever a time to support your local independents… It’s now.”
Others have been even more outspoken about ditching Dry January altogether, such as Paul Foster, the chef-owner of Michelin restaurant Salt, who tweeted simply: “Sack off dry January and support your favourite pubs.”
In response to a person that replied “I believe it’s possible to go to a pub and not drink alcohol.” he agreed, but made the point that there is “very little money in that for pubs.”
Perhaps that is the case for soft drinks, but when it comes to low and no alcohol beers, cocktails, wines and spirits, the margin is actually pretty good.
Sales of low and no alcohol have been on the rise since 2019, especially amongst beer drinkers – who are generally of the opinion that the offerings have vastly improved in recent years. Due to the rise in popularity, consumers now generally accept that they will be paying a similar price for a low alchohol alternative, too.
A Salford man is running 365km in a heartwarming marathon challenge on behalf of The Christie
A man from Salford is taking on the extraordinary challenge of running 365km over the course of 365 days and eight marathons, all on behalf of The Christie.
Approaching his 36th birthday, Connor Robinson from Worsley had always had a huge desire to do something positive in his life and after his best friend suffered a loss in the family, he was determined to help in any way he could.
With that in mind, the Salfordian decided to set himself the challenge of running 365km in 365 days across the span of eight and a half marathons around Europe to raise money for The Christie Charity.
The initial inspiration for this challenge came from Connor’s best friend Jack Prady, whose mum Tracy was treated at The Christie Hospital here in Manchester and sadly died of bowel cancer in April 2020.
Jack went on to set up the TP23 Foundation in memory of her and ran an incredible 252 miles, raising more than £30,000 for the beloved local charity and cancer treatment facility.
Inspired by his best mate’s accomplishment, Connor felt that he wanted to “do his bit” and help contribute to the fantastic fundraising that Jack had done. And it’s that classic thing, isn’t it? If your mate does something impressive, you can’t help but want to match.
That being said, Robinson set himself the huge goal of taking on not just one marathon but eight — plus an extra half-marathon for good measure — all around Europe to complete the set.
Having never been a runner, the property director knew that completing even one marathon would be a challenge for him, but seeing what his friend Jack had already achieved for such a great cause and in his mother’s memory was more than enough to spur Connor on.
The two local lads putting in the graft.
Then, just 10 weeks into his 18-week training programme on 10 January this year, Connor’s own dad, Wayne Robinson, was also sadly diagnosed with a type of throat cancer.
A non-smoker and drinker, Wayne’s cancer was unfortunately caused by the HPV virus. Having now started treatment at The Christie, receiving daily radiotherapy and chemotherapy, Connor has all the more motivation to take on the challenge.
“Whilst I am running this challenge in Jack’s mum Tracy’s memory, it is also for every single person who’s ever needed the remarkable services provided by The Christie – especially my dad”, explained Connor. “When starting this challenge, I wanted to take it across Europe and spread the name and awareness of The Christie not just throughout the North West but the whole of the UK and beyond!
“There’s probably no other family I have been closer to over the last 15+ years than the Pradys and I have seen first-hand the immediate and long-lasting impact cancer has on loved ones, but also how much needed and invaluable the treatment and care received by The Christie was.”
Connor’s friends and family will be following his journey and supporting him along the way and, like a best mate would, Jack has even vowed to run every marathon with him.
Their first marathon together will be on Sunday, 10 March in Barcelona and Connor will be documenting their journey on Instagram, @letsrunwithconnor.
So far, Connor has raised over £3,000 just through his training runs with Jack, which is 90% of the initial target of £3600. Their eight marathons will take place in Barcelona, right here in Manchester this April; Leeds, Edinburgh, Chester, Dublin, Athens and Valencia, with the final half marathon still to be decided.
You can donate to Connor 365km in 365 days marathon fundraiser HERE and wish you all the best of luck, lads — go and smash it!
These two aren’t the only Greater Mancunians who are taking on multiple marathons on behalf of the vital NHS Foundation Trust this year.
Outdated Manchester building could become new ‘innovation hub’ as part of £1.7bn transformation plans
An outdated Manchester building could be “reactivated” into a brand-new innovation hub as part of ambitious transformation plans.
The Renold Building – which dates back to 1962, and was the first of its kind UK at the time – will take on a new lease of life, and become a home for “forward-thinking entrepreneurs and SMEs” to develop new ideas and solutions that will help tackle some of the world’s biggest challenges.
ID Manchester is an “ambitious” plan to transform the University’s former North Campus into a “welcoming and accessible” new £1.7 billion innovation district.
We’re happy to share plans for ID Manchester's innovation hub, reactivating the Renold Building as a home for science and tech start-ups. With coworking, office & community event spaces, it will be central to the #IDManchester ecosystem.
According to UoM, the new vision for the Renold Building will celebrate its history as an educational hub by hosting the next wave of science and technology innovators, and building an inclusive and purpose-driven community.
The city centre building will provide a range of coworking, office, and meeting facilities to accommodate and support collaboration between researchers, entrepreneurs, businesses, and partner organisations.
On top of this, new events and exhibition spaces – including lecture theatres, and a community cafe – will be accessible to local businesses, community groups, and arts and culture organisations as part of the project, so that they have the chance to host and participate in a wide range of engaging events and activities.
Outdated Manchester building could become new ‘innovation hub’ as part of £1.7bn transformation plans / Credit: Bruntwood
“The Renold Building will be an invaluable place to bring together like-minded organisations and partners to collaborate, develop, and test new ideas,” commented John Holden, who is the Associate Vice-President for Major Special Projects at UoM.
“We’re building our innovation ecosystem from the ground up, and the Renold Building will be a place that not only accelerates the growth of our city’s most promising entrepreneurs, SMEs and university spin-outs, but also provides the spaces and opportunities to allow our local communities to participate, experience and benefit from innovation too.”