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First community-owned pub becomes successful social hub for the area

After the country’s first community-owned pub was opened on a housing estate in December 2014, it has become the very heart of the community.

The Bevy in Hillside, Brighton, had been a four year project ever since it was closed by police following a string of violent incidents back in 2010.

A handful of determined locals refused to let a small group of troublemakers take away their pub, so they began a campaign to reopen it.

They wanted it to be a community hub, like a village hall, where people could meet and come together, with a pub, and a cafe attached.

Through shares the community would own it and all profits would be ploughed back into local projects.

By the time it opened, £250k was raised through grants but mostly through the 700 shares sold to the community.

In the last year, The Bevy has been used by 70 different groups including tenants’ associations, Scouts groups and arts and craft clubs.

The venue is now running a Friday Friends seniors club, where up to 40 older residents enjoy a meal, bingo and some company.

The Bevy hosts everything from a choir to spiral disability services, from Bevendean Down parkrun to men’s and women’s darts teams.

The Bevy has won the prestigious Brighton and Hove ‘Best Business in the Community’ award and made it to the finals of the Great British Pubs as one of the best community pubs in the UK.

Pubs closures have slowed over the last few years but the figures are still too high - an average of 23 per week in 2017. The Bevy is proof that if a local pub is at risk, communities have the power to not only take them over, but turn them around too.