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The Bevy

50 Hillside



01273 281009

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© The Bevendean Pub. 2017

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The Bevy Blog

By thebevypub, Oct 16 2017 10:51AM

A snapshot of one hectic week in the life of the Bevy in September shows just what a community pub looked like.

WARM (Widening Access, Research and Mentoring) from Newport visited for the weekend to see how we tick, delivering a Brains at the Bevy talk about their work in further education for people with mental health challenges, as well as enjoying lunch with the Friday Friends seniors club, Bevendean Down parkrun, our full English breakfasts and the garden show.

They also got to see that anything is possible at the Bevy and as part of British Science Week we teamed up with the House of Cultural Curiosity who foraged materials and delivered workshops at Moulsecoomb Primary and the Bevy to make homemade shampoo!

On the same evening that we were hosting a community business leaders programme meal (our general manager is part of this national programme), volunteers from Good Gym Brighton ran from the Old Steine before tackling the weeds in our edible pub garden. Our garden is looked after by volunteers and the fruit and veg used by our Friday Friends lunch club to make puddings as well as jams and pickles to raise money for their Christmas party.

Many people with learning disabilities struggle with finding work so we have teamed up with St. John’s College in Kemp Town who have started working in the kitchen delivering our lunchtime meals and in our training kitchen. As usual we hosted Spiral Sussex, who bring their group of adults with learning difficulties to have a drink and a meal and play games. We are also working with the council’s learning disability employment team to offer short work placements behind the bar. Our current placement Kieron is doing well and is popular with the Friday Friends crew. A brilliant week in the pub all round!

It's not just the breadth of services that make us a community pub, but also the fact that we rely on volunteers to mow the lawns, fix the drains, collect glasses when we are busy, or do a stint behind the bar as well as help organising events and tackle the mountain of paperwork that comes with any business. Recruits to our team of volunteers are much needed and always welcome so please sign up to become a Friend of the Bevy.

The best example of the pub pulling the community together was our street party were 400 people celebrated the past, present and future of the Bevy. We closed the street and had music, games, free food and a few victims were found for the stocks. We worked with Blockbuilders to come up with Minecraft designs for our knackered old garage, while Bevendean History Group jogged people’s memories, Gladrags supplied the dressing up box and an aerial map of Moulsecoomb in 1936 is now permanently displayed on the dividing door in the pub.

We've run cooking courses in our training kitchen for children who learn to cook then serving it to parents and carers at the end of each session. We had a Great Bevy Bake Off with kids making Victoria sponges while Brighton and Hove Food Partnership ran a six week dementia cafe and we have plans to run a weekly dementia cafe.

Our second series of Brains at the Bevy, where academics present a half hour talk in language everyone can understand has really caught peoples imagination and often plays to a full house, winning a commendation in a national universities awards programme.

We have darts and bar billiards teams (our ladies darts team is the best in the city!) and the local pigeon club meet every Friday and we have done pop up bars at Moulsecoomb Primary summer fayre and Bev-Fest. We continue to raise money for Look Sussex – the blind and partially sighted club based at the 67 Centre and will be asking shareholders to vote on which local charity we should support every 6 months.

The Carers Centre have done budgeting workshops, we've hosted health checks and have a monthly arts group drop-in as well as monthly councillor drop in surgery. We've had massage, plant sale, kids parties for Easter, Halloween and Christmas and a place for a woodcraft group in the winter. We had a Queens Birthday celebrations where Lord Lieutenant visited, Pie n Mash & Vera Lynn night, where our minibus once again helped people get to the pub who might otherwise be stuck at home. We also take Brighton and Hove Albion fans to every home league game.

Brighton University design students did a module on community pubs and displayed some fantastic work. Check out the insect box in the garden. We sponsor a student rugby team who in exchange do some volunteering at the Bevy, while Masters students spent six weeks studying us which included painting the toilets and putting on a fundraising quiz.

We've been working closely with Steve from Holler Boys Brewery and will be launching our own beer with him – the Bevendean Beast – this weekend.

It's not all been plain sailing: we struggle to run a profitable kitchen and have an ongoing dispute with the council over the fact that even though we run so many services the council can no longer afford to, we still are being asked to pay full business rates.

We might not have won best community pub but we think we have a blueprint of how pubs can change and survive into the future. In fact it’s community business weekend, showcasing how communities have taken over the running of everything from shops, pubs and piers.

We might not get everything right but we reckon this is what a community pub looks like.

By thebevypub, Jan 19 2017 10:18AM

The Bevy community pub is two years old – and when our story is eventually turned into a Hollywood blockbuster, you won’t believe the monumental effort it's taken to keep it ticking over!

We always aimed to be ‘more than just a pub’ and we have definitely fulfilled that. We now host everything from ‘Friday Friends’ seniors’ lunch club – where local residents enjoy lunch, bingo and a chance to get out and socialise – to the Bevy choir, Bevendean parkrun (now there's a New Year’s resolution), Spiral disability, and men and women’s darts teams. We built a training kitchen where we've been teaching youngsters to cook and have grown fruit and veg in our edible pub garden. In fact, 70 different groups used the Bevy over the last year including Christmas Carols by the United Churches of Moulsecoomb, tenants’ associations, scouts and art and craft groups. ‘Little Green Pig’ delivered storytelling workshops to Moulsecoomb Primary pupils. We’ve hosted Health Checks and massage and had garden shows and parties for all age groups from the kids Halloween to a Birthday Party for The Queen. We’ve hosted the energy advice café and Brains at The Bevy. This is why we can say The Bevy is so much more than just a pub!

Places like the Bevy are becoming even more important as councils stop funding anything that isn't a statutory requirement. You know that every penny you spend helps keep us running and investing back into the local community. So why not pop in for a pint or a coffee or hire us for a celebration.

The Bevy won the prestigious Brighton and Hove ‘Best Business in the Community’ award and made it to the finals of the Great British Pubs as one of the best community pubs in the UK. The Bevy featured on the One Show programme with Suggs from Madness pulling the pints and the show pulled no punches about the decline of the Great British Pub.

Despite raising over £200,000 to re-open The Bevy we never had enough money to do all the things we promised. Thankfully a grant of £175,000 from Power to Change has changed all that. We now have our own wheelchair accessible Bevy Bus that picks up residents for the Friday Friends lunch club, brings our sponsored rugby team back to the Bevy after games and takes Albion fans to every home league game.

The outside space has been transformed with fencing that keeps children safe, lighting, hundreds of bulbs planted and a mini apple orchard of Sussex fruit trees planted at the back of the pub. We have a training kitchen and employ someone to run events from there and have a marketing budget. We also received money from Pub is the Hub to finally get a hanging, swinging, well-lit pub sign up!

It has always been hard to make the Bevy a sustainable business, but as well as the grant funding we have started to make real progress and are on track to break-even on the trading business for the first time at the end of the year. There is still lots to do, but not bad for a new community business in only its second year.

The Mayor of Brighton, Pete West said, “In my view The Bevy is probably the best thing going on in Brighton right now. Much more than a pub, this cooperative project is a hub for local services and has rapidly become the heart of community life.”

Thank you….

All these achievements have been happening alongside some major challenges which means we have some ‘thank yous’ to make. First of all, massive thanks to Danny Crutchley who started as our assistant manager in 2014 and was promoted to Pub Manager in 2016. He supported The Bevy to fulfil a very important role within the community going above and beyond the call of duty. We wish him well on his new adventure.

Second, a big thank you Mike Wardill, Business Connector, Brighton and Hove, for assisting the Bevy team in appointing a new manager along with Robert Kenward of You Search and Select placement agency. Mike has also offered support with encouraging working connections and sourcing equipment for the pub.

We’d also like to thank Gail Bainbridge from Bainbridge Lewis accountants in Brighton who has been amazing in supporting us with all our accounting over the past year.

We finally want to say a HUGE thanks to the Committee members who are stepping down and without whom the Bevy would not be the place it is today. Because it is so difficult to put a value on all their varied and valued contributions over a number of years we have listed them in alphabetical order;

Iain Chambers – who has become the new General Manager so has had to step down

John Horsfield

Karina Moran

Lee Osborne

Adrian Towler

Father John Wall

John Williams

Over the course of the next year we will be looking for new committee members who have specific skills and experience. But it is very important for people to know there are lots of ways of being involved – not least as a ‘Friend of the Bevy’.

This is a way of getting involved and supporting The Bevy with a whole range of practical jobs rather than being a committee member and having to attend meetings – which let’s face it isn’t everyone’s cup of tea! The Bevy relies on a lot of support from a number of individuals who do a whole range of regular and one off jobs that are key to the safe and happy running of the Bevy and all the various activities that take place under its roof. There is a wide range of support needed, including the following;

Painting & decorating

Odd jobs and maintenance

Gardening and maintenance of the outside space

Event planning and organising

Clearing glasses and supporting staff on busy events

Email us if you’d like to get more involved.

And last but not least a big welcome and congratulations to our two managers who are working together to create the dream team at The Bevy.

Congratulations to Georgina Guyatt Mills, Bar Manager, who has worked for us since we opened in December 2014 and has shown so much flair and potential for the role and ‘keeps her head while all about her are losing theirs!’

Congratulations and welcome to Iain Chambers our new General Manager, who has stepped into a challenging role with the required enthusiasm, vision and experience needed to handle such a responsible role.

It’s been a massive year for the pub – many thanks to you all once again and here’s to 2017!

Warren Carter


By thebevypub, Oct 28 2016 08:35AM

When people started protesting about the abrupt closure of the Dyke Pub in Brighton the owner asked where were all these people when it was open. Whatever he did, he claimed the pub lost money and as he liked antiques he would sell furniture there instead. While this highlights lax planning laws, where pubs can be closed, demolished or turned into supermarkets without so much of a planning application it also misses the point that with the local community in control, the Dyke Pub could become so much more than just a pub and attract people that would never normally set foot inside a boozer.

There are many people who use the Bevy that never went into the old incarnation. That's not to say there wasn't some great things happening in the old Bev, and some of our best events have come from recycling some of the events that used to take place.

But a very brief snapshot of this week shows how we have become more than just a pub.

On Wednesday the Bevy was bursting with children and their parents watching films they had made as part of the Hijack childrens festival; a talk about organ donation as part of our link up with the Community University Partnership Programme while the student rugby club we have sponsored for the season popped in. The day before children were learning to cook in our training kitchen, feeding parents and siblings at the end of the lesson.

Then there's the regular community choir, parkrun, art and craft club and of course the Friday Friends where last week 36 elderly residents enjoyed fish and chips, bingo and a laugh.

The Bevy also relies on a volunteer committee and supportive punters to keep costs down. This week there's been grouting in the toilets, painting of the walls, storage cupboards cleared, washing machines plumbed in and a new brick wall built for cost. Our local business connector linked us up with a recruitment company who helped us for free and we've got design students looking at – well designing materials for community pubs.

Of course the Bevy is still a place where you can pop in for a pint or get a home-cooked meal at an affordable price (have you tried our weekday lunchtime offer?), but it is also a community centre. With council services disappearing, the local pub has the opportunity to step up and deliver some of those services – which is good for business, but also most importantly, good for society tackling the loneliness and isolation that is now so prevalent. Winning the Brighton and Hove community business of the year award shows we must be doing something right.

* If you want to find out about the Dyke Pub campaign

By thebevypub, Oct 4 2016 01:54PM

The Bevy is delighted to announce that Iain Chambers has been appointed as our new General Manager while Georgina Mills has been promoted to Bar Manager.

Iain has a background in pubs and catering, managing a nightclub in Preston and running the Seven Bees Cafe in The Lanes until it was closed for development in 2013. During that time it was one of the Guardians top ten budget eats in Brighton while the Source Magazine voted it 'best fry up in Brighton.'

Iain said “I was a volunteer in the campaign to save Exeter Street Hall when I first heard about the similar campaign to save the Bevy Pub. These two community-led campaigns show what can be done when people get together and put their hearts, and a lot of hard work, into a project, even against the toughest odds. I'm proud of the Bevy and delighted to become the General Manager.”

Georgina has worked behind the Bevy bar from the beginning – and spent many hours before we even opened painting and decorating the building. Her friendly manner and professionalism has seen her promoted to Bar Manager. “I started off as a volunteer helping raise funds, to now being promoted as Bar Manager is very rewarding.  I look forward to the challenge and the exciting times ahead. We have a great team who are passionate and hard working, and are pleased to be making a difference in the community we live in.”

Warren Carter Chair of the committee said “We are delighted to welcome Iain on board and to be able to promote Georgina to have an even greater role in the running of the Bevy. We know that together they can build on our work as being much more than just a pub as well as getting the basics right like serving a decent pint with a warm welcome. We would also like to thank Robert Kenward from YOU Search & Select for his pro bono management recruitment work and Mike Wardill, Brighton and Hove Business Connector for Business in the Community who coordinated and advised during the interview process both of whom have been invaluable in giving impartial and professional advice. Advise.”

We would also like to thank our old manager Danny Crutchley, who is moving to France for his work over the past two years. We will be having goodbye drinks this Friday (7th) which you are welcome to come along to.”

By thebevypub, Jul 5 2016 01:13PM

It was time to make pizza: mushroom pizza, very thin with a smattering of onion, and finely chopped olive on a margarita base. The locals in bar at the The Bevendean Cooperative Pub certainly liked it and asked for more - I may have a job opening...

Have you discovered the Bevy, in Bevendean? The only community-owned pub on a housing estate in the UK and in my view probably the best thing going on in Brighton right now. Much more than a pub, this cooperative project is a hub for local services that has rapidly become the heart of community life. Among other activities, the busy Bevy hosts The Friday Friends - a weekly lunch club attended by up to 50 local elderly residents; Brains at the Bevy - a series of enlightening talks lead by local academics; and they have started a Park Run too. The Bevy has gained substantial lottery funding to develop their training kitchen where they support people learning to cook; some of the ingredients for the delicious bar meals come direct from the raised beds in the pub garden; and there’s a soft surface for children's play and good cycle parking!

I was really glad to spend time being shown around the Bevy during their Family Fun & Open Day being held as part of Community Business Weekend. Thank you to Peter, Warren, and all the staff and volunteers for your welcome and irrepressible enthusiasm. Thanks too to local ward councillors Mo Marsh and Dan Yates who were on hand lending their support.

The Bevy is making a huge difference in Bevendean and stands as a great model for other communities to adopt. I hope we’ll see many more Bevys springing up in the future.

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