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About The Never Say Die

The Never Say Die is the only pub in the coastal village of Jaywick Sands in Essex, and was built in 1936 at the heart of its community. It still has the original wooden beams, fireplaces and leaded windows and the Jaywick Sands Revival CBS group is in the process of applying for it to become a Listed building.

Historically, the building was a sub-post office and a small pub, while now it is a larger pub with two flats above and a large function room at the rear. The pub was in use, but had been run down and needed some care and attention, and the local community were passionate about keeping it when they heard that there were plans for it to be developed as a block of flats.

The Jaywick Sands Revival CBS runs the pub, and indeed all its incredible community activities, purely with volunteers. There are no salaried employees and even those people that used to work at the pub previous to community ownership now give their time for free. All building work has been done for free by local builder ‘Mick at the bar’ – named for the position he always takes up in the pub.

It is this passion for the pub and the value it has at the centre of all that happens in the village that defines the group’s work. Such is the love for the pub, there were no problems at all in getting wholehearted support for the project to buy the Lease from the community and the District Council.

Talking about The Never Say Die is like talking about only one side of a coin. The Jaywick Sands Revival CBS operates dozens of critical services from the building, using the large function room to enable it. Aside from the annual Valentines Dance and Halloween Dance and Christmas Grotto, the group operates a much-needed food and clothes bank for this area of high deprivation. For several years the group has operated a school uniform service, going round all the local schools to collect uniforms that have been grown out of, cleaning them and then distributing them for free to local families. This is so successful they plan to expand beyond Jaywick Sands as far as Clacton, not only saving the community expense but recycling clothing and saving it from landfill.

The group works closely with a network of local charities and community groups as part of the fabric of support for Jaywick Sands residents. Age UK visit the pub weekly, following up referrals made to the group and taking them forward to set up vital adult social care provision. A local charity Warm Hands for Cold Hearts collects warm winter clothing, drops it off at the pub and the group then distributes it to the local homeless community.

Jayne Nash, the lynchpin of the group, uses her experience of working at the DWP to help people complete benefit forms and others, such as paperwork for funerals. The Never Say Die hosts wakes for the community as needed, completely free of charge.

Perhaps the most surprising project the group operates is running a petting zoo called Sandy’s Farm. It started with a resident called Sandy who bought some goats, and now the Jaywick Sands Revival CBS goats visit the pub every day to see people. The group now owns six sheep (including the original pair, Dotty and Polly), three miniature ponies, four goats, a cow, a macaw, Mable the bird of prey, tortoises and rabbits.

The visits from the goats to the pub is a massively beneficial thing for elderly residents’ wellbeing and local children get involved with visiting the animals, petting and grooming them. This coming summer the group has organised for a local Special School to visit a class at a time to help groom and muck out the animals on the land that the District Council gifted to the group for this purpose.

Jayne summed up the group’s thoughts about what the Plunkett Foundation has done:

“We couldn’t have done it without the Plunkett
Foundation; they are always very responsive, very quick to reply. The advice and guidance we had from them and the specialist business adviser they funded to work with us was absolutely critical: we wouldn’t have known where to start and they made it happen. We couldn’t have done it on our own, they are so good.” “Unless you are in the community of Jaywick you don’t understand what it means to people here to have the Plunkett Foundation on their side, that’s amazing to them”.

The group are considering their future in many and varied ways, with so many fingers in so many pies there are lots of directions they could take, but whatever the future holds, the community will be rallying to support everything this group does for them.

“Unless you are in the community of Jaywick you don’t understand what it means to people here to have the Plunkett Foundation on their side, that’s amazing to them.”

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