Britain’s first ever community-owned pub on a housing estate is set to re-open after a 3-year campaign by local residents, and the party will kick off with a blessing from the local Vicar who has done so much to make the miracle happen.
Father John Wall, the Vicar of Moulsecoomb in Brighton, will be blessing the re-opening of The Bevy on Saturday 13th December 5.30pm.
The Bevy will be the first community-owned pub on a housing estate in the UK – but will be so much more than just a pub. Bucking the trend of 20 pubs closing a week, the Bevy will not just be serving beers, but be a much-needed family-oriented pub and café for the Bevendean and Moulsecoomb communities.
Formerly The Bevendean Hotel, it closed in 2010 leaving nearly 18,000 people miles away from a pub despite being part of one of Britain’s liveliest cities. Residents fought to get the old pub re-opened and have raised much of the £200,000 needed themselves and regular ‘work-ins’ have seen volunteers give up their weekends to fit out the pub ahead of its grand opening.
More than 700 people have bought ‘community shares’ and are now owners of the pub – the most of any co-op pub in the country.
With the fossil fuel industry up to capacity, the government has ignored the obvious alternative and decided to hand out tax breaks for dirty gas, oil and nuclear power, despite overwhelming scientific and economic evidence of the benefits of renewable alternatives.
So, the air gets more polluted and unnecessarily cold homes continue to contribute to the misery and deaths of thousands of vulnerable people each winter.
We have the resources and the research, and most significantly the will to overcome the energy challenges we face in the UK. Within the space of a year 15 community groups in Sussex alone have joined forces to support energy savings and the development of locally generated renewable energy. But those in power are sidestepping the obvious solution diverting taxpayers funds to uneconomic investments.
Instead, the government offers tax breaks for the big energy companies to build more fossil fuel plants and new nuclear. The autumn statement promised £15billion for roads. It overhauls stamp duty ignoring the opportunity to link it to environmentally friendly buildings. Even the flood defense proposals are inadequate, according to experts. The treasury continues to endorse shale gas production, despite overwhelming public concern about safety and the impacts on land, water and air, including the emission of even more greenhouse gases.
As taxpayers we are right to have a say in where our money goes, and insist on value for money on government spending. One may ask how this major investment in roads and tax breaks for fossil fuels will meet the immediate need to address fuel poverty and its consequent pressure on the NHS. Furthermore, how will it encourage the generation of locally controlled renewable energy which has been proven to reduce energy prices in Germany and is supported by millions of people across the country as a way of taking back control of our own energy supply and improving energy security?
Founder Director Kayla Ente has visited St Nicholas Church and Varndean School over the past month, emphasizing the fact that if you haven’t switched suppliers once your fixed contract expires, it is likely that you are paying too much on your energy bills.
At Varndean School, Kayla spoke to 20 parents about ways to prevent and treat damp, helped parents switch tariffs and helped resolve a problem a parent had with a prepayment meter. An average of £200 per household was saved just by switching energy supplier. This can make a contribution to reducing fuel debt, providing more disposable income for families.
A week later BHESCO had a stand at the AMAZE Info Fair, where Kayla spoke to parents of children with Special Education Needs and disabilities about their energy usage, advising some about whether they were on the best tariff and about energy savings measures they can take in their homes.
More recently, BHESCo ran a workshop in conjunction with National Energy Action at The Space Place at the Hanover Community Centre. While the ladies were busy sewing draught excluders out of beautiful recycled fabric, BHESCo was providing knowledgeable advice and help with their energy bills. Again, an average of £200 per year was saved on energy bills by switching to a lower tariff.
Forthcoming events on 15 December include a lunchtime presentation at AGE UK for front line workers, and on 15 January a workshop for frontline workers from Brighton & Hove County Council at the Brighthelm Centre and on 13 January at the Citizens Advice Bureau in Hove.
Look out, too, for the Older People’s forum which BHESCO are hosting at their base at the Brighthelm centre on 22 January.
09 Dec 2014
The People’s Assembly is creating a citizens’ conversation about democracy, cuts and what we can do about it. The next big event is shaping up to be an exciting day that will bring together inspiring leaders from across the UK who conducting their own local campaigns. We’re aiming to start a conversation about how people united together can address the challenging environment, reclaiming power for ordinary people.
Expect workshops, campaign stalls, discussion and even a free lunch! So mark the date, spread the word, keep updated through our website or the facebook event page. And tell us if you want lunch or require interpreters through booking on eventbrite: http://brightonpowertothepeople.eventbrite.co.uk