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.”
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
Father John Wall
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!
ChairUpdate from The Bevy