The Bevy is a community-run pub in Moulsecoomb, East Brighton. It has been open for eight years and provides a vast number of creative activities and community engagement, working extensively with many Brighton-based partners. The Bevy has twice been awarded Britain's best community pub, made it to the short list for the Great British Pub Award and has been commended for being the heart of its community.

Picture of people dancing indoors

The pub works with dozens of local charities and community groups every year, who host events at The Bevy.

The Bevy’s partnership work is widespread; it has built ongoing relationships with Brighton Festival, Brighton University as well as Brighton Swing Choir, local artists, producers, makers and many more. This type of partnership working increases the Bevy’s profile, engages existing groups in activities and brings in new audiences to the pub.

Helen Jones, Community Manager tells us about some of their activities: 

“My job as Community Manager doesn’t involve running the pub per se, but running activities or working in partnership with other organisations to engage local people and increase what’s on offer locally.

We want to demonstrate that we are what we say we are, ‘a community pub’ or as some people prefer to say, a community ‘hub’. 

“We accommodate several local groups on a weekly, monthly, termly and ad hoc basis. One of the main things we’re working to develop and grow is a regular Saturday morning market. We've been running once a month, and since May we're aiming for twice a month. We have good local producers and offer local people stalls for free. A lot of those are artists and crafters making different things from beautiful hand painted cards to jewellery to crocheted gifts and vegan dog treats!”

As well as the market, Helen has built strong relationships with Brighton University and Brighton Festival which has seen a big increase in activities and events in the pub. 

“Currently we’re involved in Brighton Festival through something called ‘Our Place’, which Kate Tempest introduced a few years ago. It basically brings the Festival to the edges of town that don’t usually benefit from it, and it's been fantastic. This is our second year to get involved, and it’s based on the theme of ‘hope’. We’ll have an artist-in-residence who will work with all sorts of established groups at The Bevy, as well as providing creative workshops to the wider public.”

Another programme of events is ‘Brains at The Bevy’, which involves Brighton University running a programme of accessible academic talks in the pub that are open to the public. Talks cover energy prices, the menopause, the pandemic, pollution and more.  

“They put on a series of lectures by their academic staff, although some are in partnership with local organisations like BHESCO (Brighton & Hove Energy Services Cooperative). We work to make the lectures accessible and interesting to local people and non-academics as well.”

‘Brains at the Bevy’ was highly commended in the Universities Association for Lifelong Learning 2017 awards, which recognises projects and practices that promote lifelong learning in the university sector. This year's Brains at the Bevy programme runs from June 2022 - March 2023.  

The Bevy has been building its relationships within the community and across Brighton for over eight years.

“It takes a long time to get established,” says Helen. “A lot of us have worked in the area - I used to be the community development worker for the area and had connections with some of the groups that use the pub. Relationships and partnerships are a two-way street. 

Our tips for other people would be it takes a lot of time and dedication and it's essential to work with partners.

"It just makes so much sense to work with other people - it will expand your reach in terms of the community and who you know, and help you understand what's going to get people in.”

Picture of people having a meal inside a pub

Pictures: courtesy of The Bevendean Cooperative Pub