“Simply having a wonderful Christmas Time.” It’s pretty much impossible to avoid Paul McCartney’s song over the festive period. The spirit behind it is exactly what motivates the Bevy and other community focussed organisations at this time of year. There is so much value in people coming together and celebrating- whether they are motivated by religious feelings or just the delight of congregating. This is especially true at the moment when so many yearly events and opportunities for celebrations have been disrupted.
The Bevy is the only community owned pub on a housing estate in the Uk and we are never prouder to be more than a pub than at Christmas. The pub we now operate has been running since the estate was built in the 1930s. Unfortunately, it was closed by the police in 2010 because of its recently acquired record of anti-social behaviour. A group of locals recognised the real value that the pub had previously brought to the area and decided to set up a community benefit society. After more than 700 local people had paid £10 + for a community share, and crucially with the help of supporters like the East Brighton Trust, the pub was reopened in Christmas 2014 under community management. Since then we have been focussed on our dual mission of running a welcoming local and at the same time delivering a wide variety of socially impactful projects. The classic example is our Meals on Wheels Service which we launched when the pandemic hit to combat food shortages and loneliness in those who would normally come to our lunch clubs. It’s expanded hugely and recently won the National Association of Care Catering award for providing the best Meals on Wheels in the whole of the UK!
This is why the Bevy will put in so much effort over Christmas, we have recently worked out that we will be delivering 1,590 meals via our community projects over the period, not to mention the many roasts and other delicious treats that we’ll be serving our customers! The Friday Friends Seniors group will stage a special Christmas lunch in addition to running their normal clubs on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. This is especially important for those people who don’t have large supportive families, who are given the chance to come together and enjoy bingo and some of the best turkey in Sussex! As David Gibbons, the Friday Friends Chair says: “This is the time of year where everyone needs family and friends. A lot of people have not got this. Other clubs close for the holiday when it’s most needed . It gives us personal joy to spread a little cheer & happiness and involve others to help and do the same.”
We will also be putting on a free children’s party on the 18 December, which will be a great chance for children across the estates to have a dance, hotdogs, a Christmas jumper competition and of course a visit from Father Christmas on his horse and sleigh! The reason that we are able to put this on is because of the support of local businesses like Custom Pharma. This year we are particularly grateful for the involvement of City Fibre. As Anne Krausse, their Brighton and Hove Manager has said“As part of our commitment to the community, we want to leave our legacy here by building something that’s futureproof and can last generations. That’s why we’re so eager to engage with and support local residents and businesses. This year, The Bevy has been a fantastic hub for communicating with people in Bevendean & Moulsecoomb. The team has been welcoming, proactive and brimming with community spirit. That’s why we’re really proud to be helping them make their Christmas children’s party even more special!”
This sums up just how the Bevy likes to operate, in collaboration with a wide variety of partners from every different sector. Unfortunately because of Covid regulations this year we won’t be hosting all the different churches of Bevendean and Moulsecoomb for their carols at the Bevy, but look forward to getting back to that in future. The Brighton Swing Choir will be with us this year though, treating our Christmas Market attendees to some Holiday classics and lesser known works too. We are also really pleased to work with a wide variety of different grassroots community groups (including the Brighton Lions), hosting their Christmas parties and much more- if you are in the area you will see our wonderfully illuminated windows on the 23rd December for the Higher Bevendean Advent Trail.
So in short, if you have any ideas about how you want to get involved with your local area, or if you want some tips, then the best place to go is the bar of your local community pub! There you will find a friendly smile, a well poured pint and the best connected way to engage with people in your neck of the woods. There’s no better way to spread the Christmas spirit!