Brighton’s very own, The Bevy (Moulsecoomb) is on the list amongst six other national finalists in the ‘Best Community’ category in the ‘Great British Pub Awards 2016’.
The Bevy which is Brighton’s only co-operative pub (i.e its owned and run jointly by its members) is known to be much more than simply a pub. It’s also the UK’s only co-operative pub on an estate boasting an impressive 700 shareholders.
Local residents raised over £200,000 to re-open The Bevy after a five year struggle to get it open for business. After a tireless campaign The Bevy has now been open for 18 months with over 60 different groups having used the premises for regular events. Amongst these are the local choir and Park-run communities.
The pub also runs schemes such as ‘Friday Friends’ which is run by its regulars for the older generation of locals to enjoy an afternoon of lunch, bingo and a catch-up. This scheme is aided by the Big Lemon Bus which collects numbers amounting to 30 people every week so they aren’t isolated from the community due to mobility and health problems.
The organisation also arranges day trips for the local community one of which was hold a four course Christmas lunch cooked by local school pupils of the Brighton Aldridge Community Academy. Fifty people also came to attend the Queens Birthday party celebrations.
Customers have also most impressively raised enough capital to finance a defibrillator for the site which is available to anyone 24/7.
This impressive community pub also offers shows for all major occasions inclusive of Easter, Halloween and Christmas for both children and grown ups. It has also started to open up its kitchen to show local school children how to cook from scratch.
The Bevy co-op is also working with Brighton Aldridge Community Academy to increase employability prospects for local youngsters. The enterprise is offering apprenticeships and work experience to a number of local pupils with the hope of enhancing their career prospects.
Warren Carter, Chair of the Bevy said:
“The Bevy is so much more than just a pub. Depite being near the bright lights of Brighton, Moulsecoomb and Bevendean can feel very isolated from the city. There are not many services and with continuing cuts, any that are not statutory will go. Hosting events for free, helps the Bevy be part of the glue that binds of our communities together.
This be can anything from cutting the grass, laying some tarmac to help with disability access, funding our children’s parties, fixing a broken tap, helping clear up when we are busy. People help out for a pint or just because they know it is more than just a pub and any profit goes back into the community.
“It is also the little things that make a massive difference to peoples lives. One of our regulars recently went blind. People have helped him with forms, hospital appointments and generally tried to keep his spirits up. We think we have a blueprint of how pubs can survive on estates by being so much more than just a pub.”
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.”