Onwards and Shopwards
It’s 2014, (happy new year everyone) and I have just found an email during the new year email clear out summarising the decisions from a meeting in 2010. And that was our second stab at it, so I reckon we must have started this venture in early 2009 or even 2008. Practically last century! And food for thought – we have come such a long way since those early days.
Where are we now?
Some more progress has been made with the Faculty, and we are quietly confident that we will get formal permission to use the vestry as a shop at the end of January. I always pepper these bulletins with heartfelt thank yous to those of you who have been fabulous, but I am awed into speechlessness by the mountain-moving which has gone into making the Faculty happen. Gentlemen, you know who you are. It’s worth taking a moment to think about what has been achieved – the Church of England, no less, has (almost) agreed to let us use part of the church as a community venture. They are trusting us to preserve the dignity and sanctity of the building, and they have met us much more than half way on a number of issues to make it all possible. Considering this is an organisation which was established a very long time ago, I think this shows a vision and a sense of purpose which transcends all sorts of niggles and barriers which could have scuppered us. We are very very grateful for their support. It might also be worth mentioning that as an IPS with Benefit for the Community we cannot, no matter how successful, make a profit – everything has to be ploughed back into the community, as decided by the membership (ie about a third of the village) with the church. So this is Community with a capital C and long may she sail.
Go on then, what’s the bad news
No really bad news, although getting ordinary, common or garden planning permission for change of use has turned out to be a slower process than we might have hoped. But we are getting there (and highways authority is bound up in the same process).
We are getting started in the vestry! At our early January committee meeting we agreed a way forward. We will soon be needing a few folk with vital skills to help lead the work such as shelf building, painting etc. We are as you know always looking for volunteers. You may see some activity going on in the vestry after the end of January. We can’t actually put paintbrush to wall or drill to plaster until we get formal permission, but we can do everything short of that – so that final fit-out will be a speedy piece of cake.
We’re starting to think about opening events, plaques being revealed by the Queen etc, any good ideas on a postcard to the website please!
What about the pop-ups?
We’ve had some nice feedback about the pop-ups so we will carry on until we can turn the vestry key. Please continue to support us if you can, and another thank you to the crack team who help to make it happen each week. Just to remind you, the pop-ups and the shop proper aren’t the same thing – once we can leave the goods on the shelves and not have to lug them up from the undercroft each time we will have a proper variety of dry groceries as well as pies, bread, veg etc and also more range.
So many of you have come up to me and pledged your support by volunteering to help, and we still have a full list of names on file. Thanks to all of you for being so enthusiastic, it buoys us up on dark nights. It’s so important to us that this should be a shop for and by all of us, and it’s great that that is happening. I do think Grindleford is a nice village to live in!
There will be a volunteer event on 11 Febuary at 7.30 pm. Please could you put that in your diaries? More details will follow over the email.
Quite a few of you aren’t receiving our regular updates so we are engaged in the task of making sure all our contact details are still current. You will be getting an email soon asking for confirmation that it’s the right one. Failing that a phone call.. failing that a knock on the door! Apologies to those who didn’t get the email and came down for the non-existent pop-ups over Christmas and New Year.
There is a whole committeeful of people, plus lots of fantastic helpers, who have been so willing, and such fun to work with, coming up with great ideas and working together in a really exemplary way. I knew you were a bright and capable lot but this is awesome! Everyone deserves a star spot but I thought I might put just one name in the spotlight for this newsletter, and that’s Nancy. She has the monumental task of being our Treasurer, and I know how much she has to do because I’ve watched her doing it. She is a silent heroine and we would be completely stuck without her. She’s dealing with some difficult domestic issues at the moment which would cause a lesser woman to throw in the towel but she carries on helping us wherever she can and with great good humour. Thank you very much Nancy, have a GCS new year honour! (You will have to print it out yourself, you’ve got the printer!)
So… when are we going to open?
29th February 2014…. There are still some unknowns we can’t control but we hope that worst case scenario for planning permission is the end of Feb, and we can use the time between that and getting Faculty to fit out. It looks as if Seer Fairbrother might be right, (he has my permission to say I told you so) and a day in very early March will be when we hang out the bunting.
Country Choice appeal
A number of interested parties have voiced objections. The deadline for comment was 2 January so we now await the outcome. I understand the decision has been delayed until the end of January.
Our thanks again to the Playing Fields Association for inviting us to join them and working with us. There are lots of really good ideas flying around but we need to walk first (to the vestry to buy things folks!) so will keep you posted on how things develop over the next few months.
Very best wishes to everyone for the year to come and we hope it will be a successful one for the project and for you all.
Sarah (chair) and the Grindleford Community Shop committee