Grindleford Village Shop Update

Grindleford Community shop news update

12 July 2012

It’s all hotting up with the community shop project!  Since the last newsletter, we have held 2 successful consultation meetings with about 70 villagers attending, and then have had an ongoing consultation stall at the Big Breakfast, Family Decathlon and the Carnival day events.  Just under 100 households have filled in our questionnaire so far – if you aren’t one of them, please get in touch with Sophie on 01433 631729 to ask for us to drop you one in.

There were 14 people who indicated as part of the consultation process that they would be interested in being part of a Founder Committee, and we met last week for the first time in order to decide what sort of legal model we might like to choose, in order to get ourselves incorporated.  (The Founder Committee will remain in post only until we are legally incorporated, at which point committee members will be voted on by the membership.) We need to be legally incorporated in order to access funding for the next phase of the project: a feasibility study on the options for premises.  We’ve applied for DEFRA funding for the feasibility study, and will hear if we’re successful on 20th July – we’re hoping that DEFRA’s Leader fund will give us 75% of the money we need to raise, leaving us to raise the remaining 25% from within the village.

We’re likely to need to raise £2,000 by September (to pay for the cost of legal incorporation £475 plus our 25% of the cost of the feasibility study).  Some of this will be raised by asking villagers to pay £10 each to become members of our ‘Industrial Provident Society for the Benefit of the Community’ (now that’s a mouthful!) which is the legal model the committee has chosen, on the advice of the Plunkett Foundation.  On a one member one vote system, this is how we build the foundations of a shop where all members can have a say in how its run.  Over the months of July & August, there will be a team of us visiting every household in Grindleford, explaining what we’re hoping to do, and asking if you will sign up as a member, for £10.

From the initial consultation exercise, the most popular location for the pilot community shop (12-18 months trial) was the Country Choice stores.  The feasibility study that we are hoping to commission will clarify the short and long term options for 4 different locations in the village, of which the old shop premises is one. Mr Peckett has informed us that there have been a couple of interested parties who have been shown round the premises in recent weeks, but as we write this, there has been no further progress.  In the face of this news, the committee have decided to continue undaunted, as we know from previous experience that success for a commercial shop is by no means guaranteed, and feel that a community run venture may well be the only option to get a shop and post office back in the village.

That said, if we are lucky enough to have a commercial shop open in the village before we get our community shop up and running, then we would of course support it.  If it was successful, we would return the membership monies we will be asking for over the summer (minus start-up costs, which we hope will be minimal).  If it wasn’t successful, then we would be in a strong position to pick up where we left off, and carry on (keeping calm)…

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