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.