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Leading pub companies are teaming up with the Licensed Trade Charity to help tackle loneliness amongst those who have worked in the trade. Thanks to Mitchells & Butlers, Ei Group (formerly Enterprise Inns) and Punch Taverns raising awareness of the charity’s telephone befriending service, employees from the three companies are undergoing training sessions which will allow them to become crucial lifelines to former pub workers who are feeling isolated.

An afternoon training session for Mitchells & Butlers employees Claire Williams and Kal Dhiman in London on Wednesday 15th November was followed by another in Burton on Trent this week for Punch Taverns staff, with another scheduled for the Ei Group. The training will result in five isolated people who have worked in the drinks trade receiving regular contact and conversation from the new volunteers before Christmas, which could change their life.

One of the new volunteers, Claire Williams, works in the HR department at Mitchells & Butlers and saw the opportunity to become a telephone befriender on the company intranet. She said: “The opportunity really interested me as I like talking to people and this was a way to do that whilst giving something back to help others from the trade. The training session was very good and I’m looking forward to providing support to someone, doing something that makes a difference which could enhance their life”.

Licensed Trade Charity Volunteer Manager Hilary Bone said: “We are delighted that pub companies such as Mitchells & Butlers, Punch Taverns and the Ei Group are supporting our work. There are no qualifications required to become a telephone befriender so a willingness to help others from the drinks trade, a lively personality and having half an hour free every few weeks is all you need. Our feedback is that our befrienders find the experience just as rewarding as those they call”.

Telephone befriending is just one of the valuable services that the Licensed Trade Charity is able to provide to those who have worked in the trade, along with a dedicated helpline providing advice on health, debt and relationships, plus financial support and retraining grants.

In 2016 the Licensed Trade Charity supported 288 families from pubs, bars and breweries in times of difficulty, nearly 8,000 people made use of the information on its website and over 600 people gained assistance via the charity’s helpline. Anyone working in pubs, bars or breweries calling the helpline will be entitled to six free counselling sessions for emotional support.

If you are interested in promoting the work of the Licensed Trade Charity through your organisation please email

For further information on the charity’s work, please visit our latest news.