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Deal micropub The Just Reproach raises thousands in fines after banning phones

By Eleanor Perkins

A Deal micropub which bans the use of mobile phones has raised thousands of pounds for charity in fines.

Father and daughter owners of The Just Reproach, Mark and Bronwen Robson, issue a £1 fine to any customer who accepts a call within the establishment.

They adopted the policy when they opened six and half years ago, calling it a 'digital detox' which encourages better conversation among punters.

Owners Bronwen and Mark Robson enforce £1 fines if a customer uses their phone inside the micropub (3600957)
Owners Bronwen and Mark Robson enforce £1 fines if a customer uses their phone inside the micropub (3600957)

Mr Robson, 60, said: "When we set up the micropub there were only three in Kent and they also followed the same rules.

"It's because the whole point of the buildings is for people to interact.

"You always find that telephone conversations and mobile phones get in the way of that.

"But a lot of the others [micropubs] don't seem to have continued with it.

"Our customers get it. Our regulars love it when somebody's phone goes off. There's always a big cheer.

"It's fun, it's novel. Why would you want to change that?"

The rules about phone use are displayed on the main wall inside the micropub (3600963)
The rules about phone use are displayed on the main wall inside the micropub (3600963)

For new customers, two posters among a wall display of old mobiles state the rules.

They are that mobiles can be used inside the establishment for the purpose of texting or browsing but only on a silent basis.

However phones calls are strictly forbidden and can only be done outside of the premises. If a phone rings aloud, the owner must also pay up.

The Just Reproach in Deal fines people who use their mobiles inside (3600953)
The Just Reproach in Deal fines people who use their mobiles inside (3600953)

Mr Robson said only two customers in its history have refused to pay the charge which goes to the Pilgrims Hospice in Canterbury.

Both were refunded the money they paid for their drink and asked to leave.

Regular Eddie Taylor said: "It makes you converse and engage with each other. It's nice to switch it off."

Regular customers love the no phone policy (3600955)
Regular customers love the no phone policy (3600955)

The no phone rule has helped raise £11,000 for the Pilgrims Hospice in Canterbury - a cause close to the family's hearts.

Mr Robson's wife and Miss Robson's mother, Debbie, was cared for by staff at the hospice before she died from cancer in 2016. She was a social worker at the home before she fell ill.

Mr Robson said: "People are very generous. It think because it's for the hospice. Everyone seems to identify with that in some way, so people are happy to give."

The micropub has raised a further £8,000 for other charities such as Breast Cancer Now, Royal British Legion, Royal Marine charity Go Commando and the British Heart Foundation.

They host regular pub quizzes, vegetable growing competitions and sweepstakes.

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