Printed in the Southern League Premier Division game v Dorchester Town Saturday 20th December 2014. We won 2-1 in front of 254 people.
years ago a few of us had this crazy idea to re-open our local pub.
forward, enough meetings to go round the world twice, endless
fund-raising, form filling, hoop jumping and general blood, sweet and
beers and finally The Bevendean Community Pub opened its doors to the
public last weekend.
We have transformed
an empty shell into a multifunctional bar, café, community room,
edible pub garden and soon to be community kitchen fulfilling our
vision that if it was too succeed then the Bevy would have to be more
than just a boozer.
time I see a boarded up pub or one converted into another poxy
supermarket my heart sinks. Where are people meant to meet, to
celebrate, to chew over the days events, if there are no community
spaces left? Well for once, we have put a line in the sand and stuck
two fingers up to those that said we couldn't do it.
Bevendean is the first co-op pub on a housing estate, bucking the
trend of nearly 30 pubs a week closing. But as we have been banging
on for the past few years, it will be so much more than just a pub.
We raised nearly £50,000 by selling community shares along with
loans and a massive grant because the funders could see that we are a
trail-blazer. The first of its kind with supporting letters from
everyone from the Brownies, to Albion in the community, NHS and
residents groups saying how they would use the Bevy.
Although just a
couple of miles from the town centre, living in Moulsecoomb sometimes
feels more like living in Slough rather than Brighton. Its nearly a
fiver to get a bus into town and there's no pubs, cafés or anywhere
to get an organic aubergine. Not that I like aubergines. I also
believe we can make green issues relevant for the working class
estates that surround the bright lights of Brighton. Rather than
beating people with an eco-stick, if we can produce our own
electricity and knock a few pence off a pint or coffee then it
becomes relevant. If we can grow and buy as much of local food as
possible, we can offer decent meals to people at affordable prices
then it becomes relevant. Cos its worth remembering that the
Moulsecoomb and Bevendean estates are in the bottom 5% of deprivation
in the whole country.
will be composting our own waste, asking for the repair café to fix
things, swap veg seeds and support our local micro-breweries. We will
create jobs, training and opportunities for people, paying the living
wage while offering work experience to pupils from the local schools.
most importantly we will have somewhere to meet that is owned and run
by the local community. So rather than meeting in dusty halls, we
hope we will see a renaissance in local community groups as people
not only have something pleasant to meet but a chance to find out
what's going on and how to get involved. We hope it will tackle the
fear of crime with young people serving up meals to older residents,
so when they see them in the street they say hello. Somewhere that
will not only generate income onto our estate but make it more
resilient, a better place to be. And with the promise of public
spending going back to 1930's levels, the Bevy profits, rather than
lining the pockets of distant shareholders, can be invested back into
our community supporting all the different groups that make a big
Bevy shows what a group of determined, bloody-minded residents can do
when they set their minds to it. So the next time Slough play a game
near Sussex by the Sea I expect you all to pop into the pub for a pre
match bevy. That's got to be something worth celebrating.