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Jan 2011

AN INVITATION

All Spaxton residents are invited to a meeting to find out and discuss all aspects of the Community Shop Project.
This will be on Thursday 20th January at 7:30 in the Village Hall Pavilion. Two experts will be on hand:
 
David Fisher, the Plunkett Foundation advisor for Somerset, Devon and Dorset
Cdr John Lees, a driving force in the creation of Bicknoller’s Community Shop

Please try to be there.  If you know anyone else who is interested in the Shop Project get them to join you.

LATE DECEMBER UPDATE

The questionnaire showed that a shop and post office are valued.  Unfortunately, these days this does not
mean that a shop in a village of Spaxton’s size can provide a livelihood for those running it.  However the response from the questionnaire gave our group the encouragement to press ahead with plans for a Community Shop.  At  present the Chair of the group is Richard Lee and the secretary Vernon Hughes with other members of the group fulfilling other roles. This has been necessary to get the ball rolling.  When a formal organisation is adopted a new committee will be elected.

One of the first tasks was to find the best location, current shop or village hall.  We have decided that a site at
the Village Hall is best.  There are many obvious advantages of the location and the questionnaire responses
showed a preference for that site.  Also setting up a shop there will possibly help Tony and Teresa sell their home. We will try to maintain the Post Office contract not just for continuity but also for financial reasons.  If we have to reinstate a new Post Office we will be offered much less favourable terms.  We may set up a temporary shop in the village hall so that the Post Office can be moved at short notice.

We continue to investigate options for the village hall site.  A portakabin, an extension to the front of the hall and a new-build next to the car park are all being considered and advice has been obtained from an architect and a planner. We are getting a huge amount of help from an organisation called The Plunkett Foundation.  It’s really  inspiring to look at its website, www.plunkett.net.  One of the most important bits of advice has been about the structures that will control the running of the Community Shop.  This gets a bit complicated but by the time you receive this we will officially be an “Industrial and Provident Society for the Benefit of the Community”.  This is one way to ensure that the project’s aims are fulfilled and that there is maximum community involvement.  There will be more details about how this is achieved at the meeting.  

Another way of getting help is by visiting other community shops.  There are 17 in Somerset already including 
Crowcombe, Bicknoller, Brompton Ralph and Middlezoy.  If they can do it, so can Spaxton!
Of course any scheme needs money, and a lot of it.  Fortunately, even in these straitened times, there are still
grants available for community projects.  “Doing it yourself” is very much in favour at the moment!  So we have been putting in “expressions of interest” and finding out the requirements of various grant-awarding bodies.  However there will still need to be an effort from the community, partly to raise money but also to show that the commitment is genuine. 

Your help will be really appreciated but by just attending the meeting in January you will be showing support.  By then there will be a lot more to report!  

Thank You.                    Vernon Hughes, Spaxton Community Shop Project

SPAXTON COMMUNITY SHOP PROJECT                                                              ( 671 276/289 )
Email : spaxcomshop(at)gmail(dot)com       (Please enter the proper characters; this is to help avoid spam robots which search the internet looking for email addresses to target)
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