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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, Nov 8 2018 08:51AM

You know you're onto something when the doctor recommends you go to the pub. But with a loneliness epidemic that advice might not be as unusual as it sounds. So meeting up with the Friday Friends every week for some food, company, bingo and a laugh is literally just what the doctor ordered - and a lot more fun than anti-depressants.

This Christmas, The Bevy – Brighton's only community owned pub - will have been open 4 years. In that time we think we have shown how we are much more than just a pub running a multitude of activities for all ages and interests – and take a deep breath, now actually making a profit.

The key to our success has been working in partnership with as many people as we can, grabbing opportunities when they come along and encouraging others when they've got good ideas. It also helps that we have a very supportive landlord- East Brighton Trust.

When the Bridge Community Centre suddenly closed, we were involved with others to see what we could do to keep some activities going. We now have Bridge the Gap every Monday - a lunch club for over 50's to complement Friday Friends which happens, well every Friday.

We host a fortnightly art and craft drop-in and we partner with Know Dementia to host a Memory Moments Cafe. The Dementia Alliance and Brighton and Hove Buses funded a wheelchair ramp to make us more accessible. We run a free return bus to every Brighton home game and serve breakfasts to those that have braved Bevendean Down parkrun every Saturday morning, although you don't have to run to be able to enjoy one. We are now on our third series of Brains at the Bevy, where academics present a half hour talk in language everyone can understand. We have darts and bar billiards teams and are home to the local pigeon club. We ran pop up bars at Moulsecoomb Primary summer fair and BevFest, and work closely with both Moulsecoomb Primary and Brighton Aldridge Community Academy. We love Brighton Table Tennis Club who also generously donated a table tennis table which you can wheel out when the weather’s good. Thanks to funding from Sussex Community Foundation, we ran free children's cooking clubs in our training kitchen and are working with Albion in the Community to deliver cooking sessions to local families. We run free

children's activities in the holidays as well as our annual Easter, Halloween and Christmas parties, the latter funded by Custom Pharma. You can also enjoy a meal every weekday lunchtime for just £3.50.

You can hire the Bevy’s rooms for meetings (free if it’s for local resident groups), celebrations and wakes and we can make a bespoke buffet to suit every taste. We've hosted everyone from CAMRA to Save our Schools, Woodcraft folk to Suicide Prevention workshops. We've had plant sales, a grants drop-in surgery run by East Brighton Trust and our annual Queen’s Birthday celebrations where the High Sheriff of East Sussex visited. In fact we have a never ending stream of visitors seeing what we get up too from Whitehawk to Latvia to the Lord Lieutenant! We're regularly in the Argus, and have been on Channel 5 news and in The Guardian. The leader of the council and Moulsecoomb resident Daniel Yates holds monthly surgeries along with our local MP who both spent a few hours one bank holiday repainting our kitchen. It is not just the range of services that make us a community pub, but also the fact that we rely on volunteers to mow the lawns, fix the drains, drive our minibus as well as help organising events and tackle the mountain of paperwork that comes with any business. Recruits to our team of volunteers are always welcome so please

sign up to become a Friend of the Bevy.

We support one local charity a year, last year raising over £327 for Look Sussex. This year it's

Moulsecoomb and Bevendean Chomp who offer school holiday lunch clubs for families. We also raised over £1200 for Macmillian coffee morning, although this being the Bevy it was more of Macmillan beer day! Many thanks to Charlie and Iain for donating their body hair via hot wax strips.

We support people with learning disabilities to get the training they need to go into paid employment teaming up with St. John’s College, Spiral Sussex, Grace Eyre and the council’s learning disability employment team. All our staff earn the Brighton Living Wage.

Thanks to hard work from some of the Friday Friends our garden is looking fantastic and received highly commended from Brighton and Hove City in Bloom. If you go round the back you can see our edible pub garden is busting with food and is now accessible thanks to the hard work of Brighton University Panthers rugby league club, who we sponsor, and Good Gym Brighton. The produce is used for Friday Friends to make puddings, jams and pickles. We also received fresh, organic food grown at Moulsecoomb Primary and Moulsecoomb Forest Garden Project.

You may also be enjoying a can of Bevy Beast courtesy of Holler Brewery, who we have teamed up with to produce our own bespoke beer where we make a profit for every pint sold. They have now opened their own taproom on Elder Place just off Preston Circus.

If you've got a good idea and want support to get it off the ground speak to Iain our general manager who can help with logistics and funding.

It's not always plain sailing and we often get things wrong but on the whole we are proud of what the Bevy has achieved and think we have a blueprint for how pubs can survive and thrive into the future.


By thebevypub, Jan 22 2018 09:43AM


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-

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

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.

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