Rejuvenated Edinburgh pub is declared a ‘Community Hero’  

John and Tracy Blair

IN recognition of its hard work on behalf of local causes, The Waverley Inn on Edinburgh’s Southhouse Broadway has been given a Community Hero Award.

Local residents John and Tracy Blair took on the pub in July 2021 during covid restrictions having never run a pub before. Prior to taking it on John had been a taxi driver and mechanic and Tracy worked for a firm of accountants.

Brought up in the area, at one time The Waverley Inn was (and still is) John’s local. However, in recent times it had ‘lost its way’. The couple have since turned it around and made it a cornerstone of the community.

From day one they started raising money to help local causes. Raffles, discos, a sell-out summer party for 150, race nights, karaoke and pool, darts and dominoes days all helped raise funds.

From July 2021 to December 2022 they raised £2700, which was spent on kids Halloween and Christmas parties. The latter included each child receiving a scarf, hat or gloves to keep them warm, a selection box, a present from Santa and a warm buffet.

Money also went on providing pensioners with warm Christmas lunches and £200 each went to St Catherine’s and Gracemount local primary schools together with Christmas presents for those children unable to come to the party.

Tracy said: “We were both surprised and overwhelmed to be given this award. It is an acknowledgment of the hard work put into making The Waverley Inn a hub of the community. The award isn’t just ours, it is our staff’s and the community as a whole who have got behind what we’re trying to do with the pub and to help the community. All of us are delighted and proud to have had this recognition.

She continued: “We’ve just invested in upgrading our lounge to broaden The Waverley Inn’s appeal from a male dominated pub to somewhere women and couples can enjoy socialising. Star Pubs & Bars will be giving the outside of the pub a makeover in the coming months to bring the exterior up to the standard of the new lounge, more reasons to make the community proud.

“Fundraising wise, we’ve just had our first monthly quiz, will be hosting a Summer party again and darts, pool, and dominoes competitions across the summer.”

As for the career changes, the couple said they have ‘no regrets’: “We love running a pub and helping the community, even though it is much harder work than we anticipated.”

The award was presented by Scottish Labour MP for Edinburgh South, Ian Murray, who commented: “I was absolutely delighted to present the Waverley Inn with their Community Hero award. The pub is a true pillar of the Edinburgh South community and offers a warm and welcoming environment for all.

“It is a shining example of what a pub should be and, as someone with a background in hospitality, it is so refreshing to see how John and Tracy run their business with the local community in mind. The fact that they were nominated by their own customers shows how loved and respected they are by local residents – congratulations and well done!”