BLOOD, SWEAT AND BEERS – THE HISTORY OF THE BEVY
When the old Bevendean was closed down, most people thought that was it for good. Another estate with no pub. But a group of determined, pig-headed headed, wouldn’t-take-no-for-an-answer residents held a public meeting to see if people were interested in reopening it as a community pub.
Meanwhile East Brighton Trust stepped in to buy the building so it would remain in community use. They converted the upstairs into flats for local people while putting the bottom of the site out to tender.
The Bevy committee coined the phrase – more than a pub – and after door knocking, consultations and nicking ideas of other community pubs – came up with a plan to re-open it as more than just a pub.
Now all they had to do was find the funds to do this!
They put together a prospectus and launched a share scheme at St. Andrews Church Hall. ‘Buy a pub for Christmas’ became the rallying cry.
In total over 800 shareholders joined but keeping shares at just £10 so everyone could afford it, meant we only raised £50,000 – way short of the £200,000 we needed to refurbish the empty shell of a building.
They put together a funding bid and were successful thanks in no part to over 30 organisations – from brownies to Albion in the Community to Age Concern – writing letters of support, showing that the pub would be for everyone.
As always happens, building costs and unexpected extras meant we ran out of cash and had to continue to fundraise while a small army of volunteers spent many a weekend painting and fixing the place to save costs.
Until, finally after four years of campaigning the Bevy opened its doors to the public on the 12th December 2014, becoming the one and still only community pub on a housing estate in the UK. Cheers.