“…the sun climbs slow…”
It is a joy to be able to report continued progress – the “one step back
but three steps forward” kind of progress. Our previous plans, outlined
in the September report, have been altered with the help of the
Trustees of the Village Hall. Our current plan is for a one storey
free-standing shop at the back of the Village Hall with new improved
storage space for furniture on the ground floor of the Village Hall.
This allows the Stewart Room to remain where it is and to continue to
have access from the Hall itself and removes the need for an expensive
We have received positive encouragement from the Planning Department of
the SODC to submit a detailed planning application. We have appointed
an architect to draw up plans and a surveyor to undertake a land and
levels survey in order to have the documents submitted by the third week
in January. The SODC then have up to eight weeks to comment and,
hopefully, agree on the plans. That takes us nearly to the end of March
– more about timing later.
We will have talked with all the neighbouring villagers and presented
to, and we hope received the support of, the Trustees of the Village
Hall by the time this article is published. Hugh Roderick, Adrian Wood
and their merry men will have produced a flyer which will be circulated
to all the houses in the Parish and, be warned, we will be approaching
everybody for pledges or donations!
You may have noticed the heading at the beginning of this article. We
have been strongly advised that we should be able to attract more
funding from outside sources if we form an “Industrial and Provident
Society for the Benefit of the Community” and we feel that the new title
carries this through better than just calling it the Village Shop. This
form of organisation, which sounds like a throwback to the eighteenth
century philanthropists, is chosen by a large number of Village Shops as
it enables everyone contributing to have one share, irrespective of the
size of their contribution, and all profits are ploughed back into the
shop. A committee of management runs the shop and there is an annual
meeting of all members once a year. By adopting this form, we hope that
all contributors will feel involved and continue to participate in the
success of the village stores.
We will be holding another Village Meeting when we have had the response
from the SODC planners, hopefully in early April, to report on progress
and to receive feedback
A preliminary budget costing shows that we need to raise about £150,000
to build, equip and run the stores. We have already started our
applications for funds. David Dobbin, the chairman of the finance and
fundraising group, has applied for ViRSA funds and we have just been
told that we have been approved for a grant of £20,000. This requires
us to raise at least £20,000 from local villagers, and, in addition as
part of the package, a loan from the Co-operative Bank for £20,000 will
be provided (which, of course, has to be repaid!).
We have also identified other funds from whom hopefully grants will be
secured. Among them is the SODC Community Investment Fund which was so
generous in helping us to finance the building of the Jubilee Pavilion
on the Recreation Ground. Applications for SODC funds have to be in by
31 March so we need to move pretty quickly to set up the legal
structures and receive the needed approvals to qualify. We are
cautiously confident of raising the necessary money but cannot place any
contracts until we know that we have it or pledges for it.
Operating the stores
Planning the details of operating The Village Stores is starting now
under Corinne Jones. We need those who previously volunteered to help
to confirm that they remain prepared to do so and we are still looking
out for a paid manager for the stores with retail experience. All
suggestions and volunteers to Corinne, please, on 836686.
Lots of hard work to come, but encouraging progress recently. There
will be many challenges ahead but Arthur Hugh Clough is coming into his
own and encourages us to
“Say not the struggle naught availeth…”
2009 could, just could, be the year of the renaissance of the Village Stores. And that’s worth fighting for, isn’t it!