Do you fancy owning shares in a pub?
Whilst reading one of the licensing publications we receive in the office on the look out for any business opportunities, Sarah Wallsgrove, Client Support Manager in the Licensing Team, spotted an article about a proposal for the first urban community co-operative pub in the UK. The pub had been closed for some while but local people formed a Committee to save it. The pub is called the Bevy and is located East of Brighton.
The article concluded with an invite for people to buy shares in the venture to provide the capital to refurbish and re-open it. Not knowing what to buy her husband Jon (who is Head of the Licensing team) for Christmas Sarah opted to buy some shares which were issued in the form of a beer mat.
That was back in 2012 and Sarah wrote to the Committee asking whether they need assisted with the Premises Licence Application. Blake Morgan later received the instructions to obtain a new Premises Licence for alcohol sales at the Bevy.
The Committee want the Bevy as a ‘hub’ not just a pub. Besides the more traditional pub activities of, pool, darts and selling real ales, they want to provide fresh quality food for families at affordable prices, run film nights and provide a place for everyone from pensioners to mums with toddlers to meet and use the premises as a community facility.
The Community Kitchen will run cookery courses and they will grow food in the pub gardens, their aim being to provide a venue that is inclusive, accessible, safe and welcoming - a place that will help put the heart back into the local community and neighbourhood. Previously the pub had significant problems of anti-social behaviour and was a bit of a no go area for locals.
The Bevy is hopefully due to open November of this year if they can get all the work completed and all the necessary funding. It has taken this long as they are reliant on funding from individuals and volunteers to help refurbish the property.
Shares are for sale at £10 each. It's unlikely to make you a return but you'll be a shareholder in a very unique business.
It just goes to show that taking an interest in your sector and picking up the phone and speaking to people can lead to work coming through the door.