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I recently gave a Community Trust director a tour of the Moulsecoomb estate, just a couple of miles away from the bright lights of Brighton but it might as well be a million. They got to see how on one ordinary estate, people are working together to deliver something extraordinary.

First stop was Moulsecoomb Primary. It was Easter half term but that didn’t mean the school was shut. Over 50 children a day were taking part in Brighton Table Tennis Clubs HAF (holiday activities and food scheme) – with everything from football, gymnastics and cycling – and of course table tennis. You could watch some of the stars of the future including pupils from the school who get regular coaching. Even more exciting is that the club are opening another hub at Moulsecoomb Way.

The school works with a wide range of organisations giving opportunities to those that often miss out like the table tennis club, Little Green Pig, VYD football, East Brighton Trust, Moulsecoomb Forest Garden. It’s stunning school grounds are the vision of the old head who knew that you don’t need a roof to learn and there are plans to make it an outdoor learning centre of excellence for the whole city.

Next up was Men in Sheds at the Good News Brighton hub – a former council building that was now a place of worship, woodworking and mentoring where people get together every Friday to make things and make friends.

Then it was over to Moulsecoomb Forest Garden for some lunch. The garden is celebrating 30 years as a community garden and had run its own Easter holiday scheme for Moulsecoomb Primary pupils – some whose parents used to come to the schemes themselves!

And finally the Bevy to see the seniors club in action. The Bevy is the only community pub on an estate in the UK but has spent the past year on the brink. So why do we need to bail out a pub when there are so many other worthy causes is a very valid question.

But the Bevy is more than just a pub and should be measure not just in the pints poured and the cash through the tills – just as well given the recent circumstances – but how it can bring people together and change lives, just like the other organisations in the area.

One of the recent converts to the club says it’s the only time she leaves the house and spends the rest of the time home alone with her dog. She’s started to stay a bit later and likes to laugh and joke with everyone and in a short space of time everyone knows her name. The other day when her cab didn’t show, one of the regulars whizzed her in his car home. It’s these small connections, that matter.

One of the guys working with his wife at the Men in Sheds cooks for the Bevy’s family friendly Thursdays which sum up what the Bevy is about. There can’t be many other pubs that put on free activities and then free food for anyone that comes through the doors?

Take each of these organisations and the people behind and you’ve got something special but put them all together and you have something much more powerful.

As for the guest that messaged me saying “Thank you for taking the time on Friday to show me the great work that is being done in East Brighton. I was in awe of the table tennis achievements and Moulescomb primary school, both of which look like thriving places for children in term time and the holidays!

It was my first visit to the “men in shed” and again the productivity was impressive. I was on the grant’s committee when we discussed the Forest garden, consequently it was great to see it in action.

Finally ‘The Bevy’, a community hub for Moulsecoomb with lots of activities from karaoke to lunch clubs!

Please pass on my thanks to all those people who gave me their time and for all they achieve for their respective charities. Can you  wish the table tennis para Olympians a safe and successful trip to Paris for me.”

In a time where school budgets have been decimated, where councils haven’t got enough money to fix pot holes, where people are struggling with the rocketing cost of everything it’s these sorts of bonds that make the difference and can get us out of the mess the country is in – and point a way to a brighter future.

* If you fancy a Moulsecoomb tour send us an email to contact@thebevy.co.uk

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The Bevy is a Community Benefit Society and we exist to make a social impact. Any profits we make from the pub are ploughed back into the projects we run and support, it’s only thanks to the generosity of so many people that we are able to do what we do.

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