TEN years ago, the Bevendean Hotel closed.

It was the last pub in its namesake Brighton suburb, leaving locals without a community hub.

But fast-forward to 2020 and The Bevy, opened in its place, has been named one of the best community pubs in the country, nominated for the £10,000 “feeding the community” gong in the Great British Pub Awards.

The local served its first pint in 2014 after Bevendean residents banded together to buy the building and start the co-operative.

But the much-loved Bevy really came into its own in March when it was forced to close due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Within a week of shutting its doors, the pub was reinvented as a community food hub.

Staff delivered emergency meals to pensioners who would normally attend The Bevy’s lunch clubs.

Five months later and with the pub rightfully reopened, hardworking staff have delivered more than 5,000 tasty meals on wheels to vulnerable people in the area.

The Argus: The Bevy opened in 2014The Bevy opened in 2014

“Running two weekly lunch clubs and a dementia club we were well aware of the existing social isolation and loneliness among local seniors,” said co-ordinator Helen Jones.

“So we did a ring around to see who would like a meal during the lockdown period, especially since over-seventies had been advised to stay indoors.

“We’ve worked across our community with churches, charities and schools and have been able to contact so many people who would have been terribly isolated.

“The deliveries were also an opportunity to find out if people needed help as well as providing a little bit of structure and connection to the outside world and letting people know that they are cared about.”

Food was sourced from charities Fareshare and the Brighton and Hove Food Partnership to tackle food waste in the city.

Bevy chefs even commandeered the kitchen and staff at the nearby Brighton Aldridge Community Academy to prepare more meals than it could have otherwise.

Though the pub reopened in July, the service is still going, funded by grants and donations from the public.

The Argus: The Bevy could win £10,000 if it wins the awardThe Bevy could win £10,000 if it wins the award

A Wednesday lunch club has been restarted in the pub garden for isolated pensioners in the area.

So for Bevy chairman Warren Carter, the Great British Pub Award nomination is well-deserved.

“When the lockdown happened it was a no-brainer to help out the people who usually come to the pub for food, drink and company,” he said.

“It’s fantastic to be recognised in the Great British Pub Awards and we hope this means more people come and visit us.

“We’re Brighton’s only community pub, the only community pub on a housing estate in the whole country, our food menu is superb and it’s a bargain.

“Supporting us supports all our community activities like meals on wheels too.”

Voting is now open and ends on Wednesday next week.

To cast a vote for The Bevy, visit greatbritishpubawards.co.uk/feeding-the-community.

  • At The Argus, we are championing the work of traders during the coronavirus pandemic as part of our #BackingSussexBusiness campaign. We are always interested to hear how the community is coming together in this crisis. If you know of a local business battling to do all it can in these tough times and/or offering support to the local community, please get in touch at laurie.churchman@theargus.co.uk and rose.lock@theargus.co.uk.