These articles are published in the Slough Town FC programme. The Rebels play in the Southern Premier - just seven leagues below the Premier League. I’ve been supporting Slough since the beginning of time despite now living in Brighton. After nearly 14 nomadic years we finally have a brand spanking new home in Slough.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

WANT TO BUY A PUB


Printed in the Southern League Central Division match v North Greenford United Saturday 15th December 2012. The game was postponed at 3pm thanks to a waterlogged pitch. And so the fixture congestion continues.

I’m seriously running out of excuses for missing yet another Slough Town game – flu, overslept, someone spiked my drink with alcohol, no sleep thanks to a baby, too busy with work blah, blah, blah But I never thought I would be using the line ‘I can’t make the  Royston match cos I’m speaking with the local vicar in the church about raising funds for a community pub.’
The irony that I’ve missed so much more football and drinking in pubs because I’ve been busy with people on my estate trying to open a co-operative pub isn’t lost on me. Although my liver says thanks and my wallet is positively bulging.
The day of the Royston game was one of those surreal media frenzy days starting at 7am when I did a breakfast interview with Radio Sussex and continued until we became the main feature on BBC South East news. We featured in every tabloid because what one could resist a ‘Vicar prays for pub’ story.  Now I’m not a religious man but our local vicar is someone I admire, who works tirelessly for our community and is a good laugh!
He’s now becoming famous for saying every place needs a good church and a pub. And our estate, along with the one next door, has been without one since May 2010 when the police closed down The Bevendean for fighting and drugs.
Now estates losing their local isn’t news, 18 pubs a week are closing. But locals getting together on a housing estate to re-open a pub definitely is news.
So last October me and the local vicar and a few others came up with a cunning plan and decided to hold a public meeting and see what if. What if the 18,000 people of Moulsecoomb and Bevendean clubbed together and tried to re-open the old boozer as the first co-operative pub on a housing estate in the UK. But it has to be so much more than just a pub to survive commercially. It will be a café, have a meeting room, a community kitchen, an edible pub garden, a space where other organisations like Brighton and Hoves Albion in the community get involved. The response we have had has been amazing, all three main political parties (and that includes the Greens in Brighton who run the council) support us as do a wide range of people and organisations.
It’s been a lot of bloody hard work, and we’ve been buried in legal documents, business plans, architects drawings, prospectus and long discussions on burning topics of the day, like where to put the disabled bog. We’ve done all this with hardly any money relying on volunteers to put in the hard slog and companies to do stuff for free.
And just like how small community football clubs can bring people together, we aim the Bevendean as somewhere we people can come along and meet their neighbours.
So you might be thinking this is just a blatant sales pitch, what’s it got to do with Slough Town. Well, think of it as one long excuse why I haven’t been too as many games this season as I would like too. What we are trying to do is the same as the supporters run football clubs, the local co-operative shops and other pubs (all but one in posh places), bookshops, farms and solar energy co-ops that are springing up all over the country brought, run and owned by the community.
As for the sales pitch. Well, it doesn’t matter where you live - anyone can be a member, and who hasn’t dreamed of owning your own pub? Well, now’s your chance!
To find out more www.thebevy.co.uk

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