Today’s rural communities are as diverse as the landscape of the British Isles: local shops are run out of people’s houses, villages share vicars who alternate between two churches, and businesses are run out of barns.

All of this goes to contribute towards coping with the ever changing reality of modern existence in the countryside, and now many pubs are also incorporating other services into their repertoire in addition to the traditional pint and ploughman’s lunch.To help communities adapt, and to avoid merely becoming stop off for tourists in high season, rural hostelries need to evolve and diversify, to become, quite literally, the hub of village life.

Ways in which pubs can help people in small villages include providing internet and e-mail access; hosting church services; helping with providing meals to local pensioners; acting as pharmacy collection points; providing créche facilities; acting as deposit/collection points for dry cleaning and laundry; setting up as off licenses; providing space for convenience stores, Post Offices, betting shops, art and craft galleries, gyms and fitness centres, and acting as outlets for farm produce or other locally produced goods.

If any of this sounds familiar, why not nominate your local to be considered for a ‘rural pub of the year’ accolade? This year Calor Gas, who already run a ‘Village of the Year Award’ have decided to conduct a search for the Best Rural Pub of the Year, to find the pub which has become most indispensable to the local community.

For further details of how to enter, and to download a form, clickhere, and you could find your nearest pub achieving more than just local notoriety.

N.B This competition is now closed.