A community pub on Brighton’s Moulsecoomb estate is providing a ‘meals on wheels’ style service to vulnerable local people who can’t get out to buy food during the COVID-19 crisis.
After closing The Bevy pub due to the outbreak, a team of dedicated volunteers and staff decided to cook and deliver hot meals 3 times per week to ensure that none of the regular attendees of their lunch clubs goes hungry.
The scheme, known as Bevy Bites, had been successfully trialled in early March with a rollout planned for later in the spring. But when the Coronavirus outbreak hit, the pub decided to begin offering the service straight away, starting with members of the busy Friday Friends and Bridge The Gap weekly lunch clubs, which provide companionship, activities and a hearty meal to elderly local people. The Bevy has introduced the most stringent hygiene safety measures in the Bevy building and in the delivery process.
The Bevy’s Helen Jones, who is co-ordinating the efforts onsite at the pub, said: “We’re managing to feed a lot of people who usually come to our lunch clubs for the elderly so we can still provide them a lifeline. We’re also now receiving lots of requests from local people with underlying health issues who are on their own and would be going without food if it wasn’t for Bevy Bites. A lot of these people are hard up, feeling very anxious and very isolated.
“This is our third day of delivering and it’s growing each time. We think the demand will be huge as more people learn about it. We want people in the area to know that if can’t get out of your house, you don’t have to go hungry.”
The pub has been working closely with local schools, churches and community organisations, developing a combined community response to make sure help is given to all those who need it throughout the crisis. Brighton Aldridge Community Academy (BACA) has collaborated with the pub to help out Bevy Bites, building up a reserve of frozen meals to be deployed when most necessary with help from the Brighton Food Factory, a new not-for-profit social enterprise addressing food inequality in Brighton and Hove.
Mr Speight, principal at BACA, said: “When this project was suggested to us by The Bevy, there was a real enthusiasm amongst staff to ensure that BACA contributed to the community effort. We are lucky to have fantastic catering facilities and in Chef Ricky Hodgson a true professional who was willing to combine his vital role as Head of Year 10 with the coordination of our efforts. While we are doing all we can as a school to support our students’ learning and wellbeing during this period, we know we have to also reach out further”.
The Bevy Bites team is asking for urgent donations to ensure this service continues, via a donate page on The Bevy website. Helen added: “Any donations are very welcome. Every £5 you give provides someone with a meal so we are really grateful for any money anyone can spare.”
If you’d like to donate to The Bevy please head to their website: www.thebevy.co.uk/donate
If you live in Moulsecoomb and Bevendean, have been told not to or cannot leave your home and would like to receive one of these meals, or know someone who would then please phone 01273 281009
Notes to editors
The Bevy is a community owned pub run for the benefit of the local community and not for profit. Opened in December 2014 The Bevy is the first co-op pub on a housing estate in the UK.
Bevy Bites launches this year following a successful crowdfunding campaign at the end of 2019. The ‘Meals on Wheels’ style scheme will deliver hot lunches to people who are unable to get to the pub themselves.