Words from the Chair
Sometimes I sit in the pub and wonder what if we weren’t here?
The 13,500 meals that wouldn’t have been delivered during lockdown, the custard that wouldn‘t have been poured over Friday Friends puddings, those friendships that wouldn’t have been made. At the end of the day, that’s what a pub should be. Like your front room where you feel comfortable when you walk in, where you can chew the fat with someone over a pint.
Sure my liver and bank balance would be a lot healthy, and I wouldn’t get so much ear-ache but it was worth fighting to re-open the Bevy right?
However, despite millions pumped into the community pub sector, we are still the only community owned pub on an estate. Maybe because its such bloody hard work, but it’s very disappointing and frustrating.
Covid has not been kind to the hospitality trade and the constantly changing rules certainly kept everyone on their toes. At one point, you were only allowed to drink in a pub if you had a scotch egg stuck up your bum, hopped on two legs and sang the hokey-cokey backwards.
This has meant the relentless closure of pubs continues. 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 : change the management, players and run it a bit better. They start winning games, more people come and watch them and hey presto, look you’ve got a winning formula.
There should be much greater protection for pubs and other community spaces so property vultures can’t profit. So how about any money made from selling a community space has to go back to the community. I reckon that would stop the unviable 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.
Because guess what? Doing stuff for your community is also good for your business. Since the last AGM we’ve won awards for our meals on wheels services, had a zoom visit from the Duchess of Cornwall, been part of the Brighton Festival Our Place, and have started rolling out the numerous clubs and activities that make us more than just a pub. Art club, Job club, Amaze sunflower support group, parkrun, adult education, little green pig childrens writing group. As well as a vaccine drop in, cityfibre advice centre and visits from Moulsecoomb Primary. It’s also great to see the return of Friday Friends and their buckets of custard.
Our garden continues to be productive and bloom thanks to Dave and Shirley and occasionally Jonathan who managed to get stuck on the wall the other day after pruning the roses. I think he’s still there.
After the council taking an age to make a decision, we got our 3 heated cabins built and in the best traditions of the Bevy, they were a collaboration of people and organisations, so please raise a glass to Rivers Birtwell, Fullworks Construction, Micky at Meridian Electrical, Lewis and Co Planning, BPM Architectural Services Ltd, Covers , Brighton Tools and Fixings and the Enjoolata Foundation.
So many volunteers help keep the meals and wheels rolling out, so many funders helped make sure it was affordable and our landlords East Brighton Trust have continued to support us along the way.
Saturday was also the perfect example of the Bevy being at its best with the first of hopefully many markets, free children’s Halloween and then our now regular music night in the evening. We can’t please everybody all of the time, but people must remember that we are a business and if we don’t put on lots of different activities and cater for a wide range of people, we would - you’ve guessed it, not be viable!
We don’t always get it right, the committee are volunteers so do remember when you’re armed with earache, come up with a plan to make it better and volunteer to make it so.
Which is why I’m so pleased to see three new local people putting their hats in the ring and wanting to get involved to help continue to make the Bevy a success. Cheers
Words from the Treasurer
You will have been given the draft accounts for the year. A very odd year!
The best way to get a proper understanding of where we are is to turn to the back - pages 11 and 12.
A few things to highlight:
*These numbers are to the end of April. For the vast majority of the year we weren’t open due to COVID, and when we were open often only partly. That explains the dramatic fall in sales and gross profit shown in page 11.
*Our admin costs actually went up though from £201k to £268k. That’s a bit misleading because whilst we’re showing e.g. all our staff salary costs, a big repair cost and a big depreciation cost a lot of these were offset by grants we received - e.g. furlough for salaries. In all we’re showing £261k of grants coming in on page 11.
*Overall that gives us a profit for the year of just under £10k - an incredible achievement given the pandemic AND the fact that all the costs included operating our award winning meals on wheels.
The other page worth looking at is page 4. This is basically telling us that we have £40k of net assets, mostly in cash. We have already been eating a little into this since the end of April - as lockout eases it is hard to make a profit whilst pubs aren’t rammed. But we’re on the right track financially and hope by the time we get through the dark pub months of January and February we’ll be on a much more even keel.
So in summary:
*Tough year, replied on grant support but managed that well and operated an award winning meals on wheels service (best in the country!)
*Have built up some modest reserves to help us get back on our feet as lockdown eases - but the next 6 months until Feb/ March will be continue to be challenging financially and grant funding will be much harder to come by
*Keep coming to the pub, spending your money here, hiring it out and eating - we need you!