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The Bevy

50 Hillside

Brighton

BN2 4TF

01273 281009

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The Bevy Blog

By thebevypub, Jan 22 2018 09:43AM

CAN PUBS CURE LONELINESS?

A report published last year by the Jo Cox Commission, revealed that loneliness was as harmful to health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day

So with the government appointing its first loneliness minister, what role can pubs play?

After spending an afternoon helping out at Friday Friends the seniors lunch club that happens every week, 52 weeks of the year, at the Bevy, Brighton's only community owned pub, I know that pubs can play a massive part.

But if i'm honest, it was pretty heart-breaking. I jumped on the Bevy bus to help drop people off home. Over 40 people come along each week from Moulsecoomb and Bevendean, some of them transported in our wheelchair accessible minibus. I wheeled one guy into his flat in sheltered housing and asked how he managed. He told me his mate across the way used to help him but he had just died. As I made sure people's doors were shut I wondered just how many would not see another soul till the following Friday and tipped my hat to the people who volunteer to make the club run.

Pubs can play a pivotal role in supporting their local community and running a seniors lunch club isn't just good for the community but also good for business, as these people make friends and become regulars. Having a pub on your doorstep, having someone who knows your name when you walk in, makes a massive difference to the quality of peoples lives.

What makes the Friday Friends even more impressive it that they are now working with St.Johns college for adults with learning disabilities who cook lunch for everyone while gaining hands-on work experience that will help them with paid work in the future. (65% of adults with learning disabilities who want to work can't find jobs).

So the government has a ready made answer when it comes to tackling loneliness. Unfortunately with so many pubs closing every week it needs to strengthen planning laws to protect them and other community spaces from property vultures while exempting those that help their communities with tax breaks. That's why it angers me when pubs on estates are shut because they are worth more financially as housing when run properly they can be the beating heart of the community.

The Bevy has proved that, and with a loneliness epidemic we need places like the Bevy more than ever.



By thebevypub, Nov 22 2017 02:31PM

Thanks to sponsorship from Power to Change The Bevy were able to put on a Community Business Revolution event at Exeter Street Hall


We were blown away by how many people came and were interested, especially those people who have just started, or are thinking about setting up their own community business. Curtis James, who people might have bumped into around the pub recently put on a fantastic presentation on his experiences over the last two months of researching the Bevy and Stoneham Bakehouse. He really powerfully captured the difference that can be made when people work together with a common goal in mind. If you couldn’t make it or want to see it again, then sign up to his newsletter to find out when it’ll be online- https://t.co/wjukCmtXfk


We then had a panel discussion chaired by Vidhya, the chief exec of Power to Change. We had Iain repping Exeter Street Wall, Warren, for the Bevy, Rebecca for Saltdean Lido and Simon for Stoneham Bakehouse also the brilliant Dave Boyle from the Community Share Co. They were all incredibly honest (and in Warren’s case sweary) about the challenges that they faced and their passion really shone through. One big takeaway was how much they had the potential to help each other. As Iain said “Why isn’t the Bevy buying its bread from Stoneham Bakehouse- it would be much better and probably cheaper!”


* Your can hear Iain from the Bevy and Andy from Save the Greys on the Radio Reverb business show http://radioreverb.com/




By thebevypub, Nov 6 2017 01:58PM

When I hear a developer or Pubco company saying that a pub is unviable all I can think of is 'what if this was a football club.'

Your team are rubbish, they are losing every week and are bottom of the league. Worse they are thousands in debt. Close them down I hear you sing, they've become unviable. Or how about this: change the management, players and run it a bit better. They start winning games, more people come and watch them and hey presto, look they are viable again.

I'm not arguing that pubs don't need to change; pub hospitality needs a massive kick up the backside to be a bit more you know hospitable. Eating a Thai meal in one Slough pub a few years back, as the staff blasted out heavy metal music so loud we couldn't hear each other talk, one of our mates said the owners had tried everything to get people through the doors. Apparently cleaning the place and making the toilets not smell like a sewage farm wasn't one of them.

I'm pretty sure in its last incarnations the Bevy was an unviable pub, strangled by the tripple whammy of a pub tie that meant buying beer cost twice the normal price, an uncaring Pubco and poor management. What was once a thriving community pub had not changed with the times. Hell, it's not the most viable pub now but we work bloody hard to try and make it one.

So what about measuring a pubs social impact? Once a pub has gone its gone. With a loneliness epidemic we need more places for people to meet not less.

So how about running a lunch club for older people, offering them lifts if you can. People with learning disabilities are desperate to work but never given a chance, so why not team up with their local colleges and see if they can gain valuable work experience in your kitchen or behind the bar. Look at the quiet times and see how you can fill them by holding community events and offering rooms for people to meet for free. Anything is possible from garden competitions, art and knitting groups to making your own shampoo out of beer! Display the local schools artwork and run cooking lessons when your kitchen is closed. The more diverse the events, the more diverse the people coming through the doors. There's plenty of community pubs to go and have a look at and nick their best ideas – and drag those council officers and councillors with you.

Ask people what they want – novel eh! Oh and clean those bloody bogs.

Yes we need houses but not at the expense of places where people can meet. Change the bloody record and change the model if its not working, not go for the close-it-down nuclear option.

The Bevy hasn't got all the answers but we reckon we have a blueprint of how pubs can change and survive into the future, because you know what, they are needed more than ever.



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

Chair

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