One of the leading lights of the UK’s community pub movement, the Bevy in Brighton, is at risk of closure as the inflation crisis sends costs soaring.
The only community-owned pub in Brighton, the Bevy has been hailed for the services it offers to locals living in the city’s Moulscoomb housing estate – including a a raft of support measures for vulnerable people during the pandemic.
Activities at the pub – which operates on a zero-waste basis and pays the Brighton Living Wage, with opportunities for local youngsters and adults with learning disabilities – include free a Thursday family afterschool club for children, with free food; a Friday £5 seniors club; a monthly market; and Brains at the Bevy academic talks.
It also took steps to help locals weather the cost-of-living crisis – as reported in Co-op News – but is itself falling victim to the same pressures. The business is losing about £3,000 a month due to increased utility bills, rent and stock prices, with chair Warren Carter warning it could close its doors within two months.
Carter has called for support from the local community, with a public meeting held on 1 July, where dozens of supporters were updated on the pub’s finances and asked for ideas to rescue it. Suggestions included a subscription model with rewards, specific events like a board game night, food on Sundays and more publicity for the venue’s availability for hire for special events.
After the meeting, Carter told Brighton and Hove News: “It’s relentless and exhausting when you haven’t got enough money.
“I don’t think people get how different the disparity is here from in the city. We can fight for people who fall through the cracks. There’s loads that goes on that you can’t put a value on.
“Today, we were testing the water. We never really ask for help. But we need your help now. Pubs are part of our DNA but we’re in danger of losing them. We need to be clever.”
James Alcock, chief executive of Plunkett Foundation, told the BBC a fifth of the charity’s 750 community-owned businesses in the UK are at risk of closing or having to reduce services. “These businesses are not aiming to make a profit,” he said. “They’re aiming to provide a service and support their local communities.”