The Bungaroosh group was brought together by Valentina during her training year with Locality as a Community Organiser in 2014. It all started by listening to different people across the city who happened to live in the same area near a pub that has been closed for a year at the time.
Valentina met one of the residents during a meet up with the Disability Network at the University of Brighton. During their first conversation they discussed many things, but one thing that came out strongly was the need in the area at the top of the very steep hill, of an open space, a community hub, where people from all walks of lives and ages could meet. This idea resonated from other conversations Valentina have had, therefore she decided to bring together all these residents for a meeting to discuss their idea.
The first meeting was under candle lights in the Hanover Pub. In this meeting the group discussed their vision for this community place, the skills that each of them could offer and possible venues. The Cuthbert Pub, which was bought by private developers over a year ago at the time, was still empty and seemed like an ideal venue as it is located in the heart of the area. Maddy Randall, one of our associates, invited someone to the meeting who had supported the Bevy Cooperative Pub in Brighton, which has turned out to be a great success! He advised the group to list the Cuthbert ASAP as an Asset of Community Value (ACV) by using the community right to bid listed under the Localism Act (2011).
The group decided to call itself the Bungaroosh, because of a composite building material mostly used in Brighton, made of diverse miscellanous materials. They wanted this community hub to represent the diversity of the area and to welcome people from all walks of life.
In July 2015 the pub was listed as an ACV by the local council and later that year the Community Organisers Mobilisation fund became available for community organisers who were working with community groups using community rights. Valentina applied and the group was succesful getting a grant of £14 200 to fund expert advice, consultation events, promotion costs, traning costs, among others.
The group have grown in numbers having today 8 members in the core group and more than 200 FB supporters who are local residents. The community organisers also managed to get community media students involved to help The Bungaroosh promote a consultation event and doing door knocking to engage the community.
The group is still working on the project, applying for funding to get enough money to buy the building from the developers. They are also planning to fundraise through community shares, to make The Bungaroosh community owned. The residents have been working together for almost 2 years now. It all started by having a meaningful conversation, unravelling passions, reminding people they have power to change things when they work together. And that is what we community organisers do, being the first to say: What you want with all your heart is possible and we are here to give with you the first step.
To read more about The Bungaroosh project, check out their blog here:
The Cuthbert Pub is located in Queens Park, Brighton, near the council state of Craven Vale. This map illustrates the lack of social spaces in the area
WHAT PEOPLE SAY
"Our Community Organiser has been a project lynchpin: linking people up, facilitating, helping organise and promote consultation groups"