Brighton community pub to inspire others across the UK

A group of volunteers who opened the first community pub on a suburban housing estate in the UK are set to help others to do the same.

Organisers behind the Bevy Community Pub, in Brighton, East Sussex, are hosting an event to inspire people from across the country to save their own locals in the same way they did ten years ago. The Bevy – formerly the Bevendean Hotel – was the last pub in the Bevendean neighbourhood when it closed down in 2010. But rather than slipping away into a derelict state or redevelopment for housing, a group of determined residents raised the funds and brought it back to life in 2014.

The experiences and advice of those involved with The Bevy will be shared when they host the free More Than a Pub event – organised by national charity the Plunkett Foundation – later this month. The events will allow community groups to see how The Bevy was reopened through a local campaign and the sale of over 700 shares. The pub is now in community ownership and has become a hub of activities – from arts and crafts to a dementia café. And it has further plans including to provide meals on wheels to the surrounding area.

Hannah Barrett, Plunkett’s senior project manager, said: “The Bevy is a great example to inspire others – it is a story about a community who refused to let their local pub die. Since it has been in community ownership The Bevy has become an absolute hub of activities and services for the local community.

“We are increasingly aware of rural communities saving the last pub in the village through community ownership, but this is less common in urban areas – especially on estates. That is what makes The Bevy so important – their story can inspire other communities on suburban estates to realise they don’t just have to stand by and see their local pub turned into flats or demolished. There is another way. This More Than a Pub event will hopefully encourage others to follow this path and save their local pubs too.”

The More Than a Pub programme, run by the Plunkett Foundation and funded by Power to Change and the Ministry of Housing, Community and Local Government, provides business development support and finance to enable the community ownership of pubs in both rural and urban communities across England.

Helen Jones of The Bevy, said: “The Bevy has given this deprived neighbourhood a social and community hub. More than a pub, it’s also a place for people to eat, meet, run courses, cook, debate and relax. It is a welcoming safe space, free venue and beacon for what people power can achieve.”

The event at The Bevy will feature a tour, questions and answers, a session with a Plunkett Foundation adviser on setting up a community pub and an introduction to the resources and support available. The study visit will be taking place on Thursday 27 February from 10:30 – 14:00.

For more information contact Duncan Smith, Communications Manager, Plunkett Foundation: 01993 810730 / Duncan.smith@plunkett.co.uk or visit www.plunkett.co.uk

Notes to Editors

The Plunkett Foundation

www.plunkett.co.uk

The Plunkett Foundation helps rural communities UK-wide to tackle the issues they face by promoting and supporting community business. Community businesses are enterprises that are owned and run democratically by members of the community and others, on behalf of the community. They come in many forms – including shops, pubs, woodlands and anything which lends itself to community ownership. In addition to developing and safeguarding valuable assets and services, community businesses address a range of issues including isolation, loneliness, wellbeing, work and training. For over 100 years we have provided practical support to help communities establish and run these businesses successfully.

The More Than a Pub programme

More Than a Pub provides business development support to enable the community ownership of pubs in both rural and urban communities across England. Funded by Power to Change and delivered by the Plunkett Foundation, the second round of the programme builds upon the success of the first, which saw over 450 enquiries received from communities across England and saw 28 pubs open under community ownership. Support and funding is available to the community pub sector until September 2020.

The Bevy, Brighton

Re-built, re-decorated and re-opened by an army of volunteers in December 2014, the Bevy is the first community-owned and run estate pub in the UK. The Bevy is a Community Benefit Society with over 700 shareholders and any money made is reinvested in the local area, making The Bevy More Than a Pub.

About Power to Change

Power to Change is the independent trust that supports community businesses in England.

Community businesses are locally rooted, community-led, trade for community benefit and make life better for local people. The sector owns assets worth £890m, and comprises 9,000 community businesses across England who employ 33,600 people. (Source: Community Business Market 2019)

From pubs to libraries; shops to bakeries; swimming pools to solar farms; community businesses are creating great products and services, providing employment and training and transforming lives. Power to Change received its endowment from the National Lottery Community Fund in 2015.

www.powertochange.org.uk @peoplesbiz

For more information please contact: Alex Valk 07384 812777 alexv@powertochange.org.uk

About The National Lottery Community Fund

We are the largest community funder in the UK – we’re proud to award money raised by National Lottery players to communities across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Since June 2004, we have made over 200,000 grants and awarded over £9 billion to projects that have benefited millions of people.

We are passionate about funding great ideas that matter to communities and make a difference to people’s lives. At the heart of everything we do is the belief that when people are in the lead, communities thrive. Thanks to the support of National Lottery players, our funding is open to everyone. We’re privileged to be able to work with the smallest of local groups right up to UK-wide charities, enabling people and communities to bring their ambitions to life.