Here’s a tale of a pub that refused to die:
An older guy with mild learning disabilities lives on his own near the Bevy. The services he regularly uses all close over the holidays. People who know him are worried he would be alone. So Bridge the Gap lunch club, which moved to the Bevy after the local education centre suddenly closed, asked him to join them. After lunch those that live alone were given a Fareshare bag of food to tide them over. The local churches stepped in to make sure he wasn’t alone on Christmas Day, and he enjoyed dinner with 45 people. He was invited to Friday Friends at the Bevy because their lunch club doesn’t ever stop, especially this time of year when so many can feel even more isolated. Just simple acts of kindness, people pulling together. Nothing new or revolutionary in that, but people do need spaces to meet for it to happen.
So while I welcome the government announcing another million plus pounds to support pubs we need to do much more to protect them, so the cash isn’t just a small sticking plaster to endless pub closures. What if …
There was much greater protection for pubs and other community spaces so property vultures can’t buy them up, run them down, then declare they are unviable so they can cash in converting them into accommodation? Maybe just making any profit made from selling a community space having to go back to the community would stop that speculation dead in its tracks.
Stop measuring everything in pounds, shillings and pence. What about the social value of a business? Shouldn’t that count for something? So measure business rates on social good. The more a pub does for its community, the more discount they get. This will encourage all pubs to use their spaces to make good things happen.
Release pubs from the stranglehold of Pubcos who make running a profitable business almost impossible.
But my greatest wish is that the new cash finds its way to the places with the greatest needs. One Bevy housing estate pub in five years is just not good enough. So the Bevy is here to help people find their way through the bureaucratic maze of paperwork and other obstacles to make that happen.
In all the festive celebrations, we forgot to celebrate our 5th birthday – not that there was any time to fit it in. In just one weekend Friday Friends dished out nearly 60 meals to bring Christmas cheer to older residents helped by local school pupils. Nearly 70 children came to our free kids Christmas Party and the pub was again packed for the annual United Churches of Moulsecoomb choir services. Maybe that was why we were voted one of the 12th most festive pubs in the country.
But for me, it’s the stuff that goes under the radar that makes the Bevy so special. Our regular trades folk that fix the pub for cost or a pint; the people that make sure the garden looks smart and grow food that goes back into the kitchen; the people that volunteer their time to drive the bus to pick people up so they can come to our clubs.
Not everyone will step through our doors, so how do we help support those lonely and isolated or struggling with feeding their families? That’s where our Meals on Wheels comes in. We smashed our crowdfunding target and raised just over £17,000 in just 28 days so we can deliver fresh, home cooked food across the estates and reaching out to people so they can start to feel part of society again.
Five years of the Bevy and we’ve got a lot to celebrate, a lot to reflect on, a whole lot more to do.
It’s still bloody hard work to turn a profit, so one simple thing you can do is hire us for wakes, weddings, meetings, events or get us to supply our food for your event in the city. Or just simply pop in for a pint!
The Bevy might not be in the poshest part of town, but it’s rich beyond any government measurement, working with others to make it part of an ordinary estate doing extraordinary things.