A Big Lottery Fund grant of over £24,000 has been awarded to a project to open a community owned and operated village store in Buckland Brewer.
The proposed Buckland Brewer Community Shop will offer good quality food and other products with a focus on local produce and great customer service. It will located in the vestry of the village’s Methodist Church and staffed by volunteers with a part-time paid manager.
Working in partnership with the Methodist Church, the shop management committee aims to open for business later in 2012.
Managament committee chairman, Pete McClymont, said:
“We are absolutely delighted at this award which gives this project and everyone in the village an enormous boost. The award comes at a key time as we’ve just launched our membership share offer to help reach our overall funding target of £37,000.
“There is still a lot of work ahead for the committee and our partners.
“The committee thanks everyone involved in the project, especially the Buckland Brewer Methodist Church for its ongoing support and assistance.”
Revd Graham Slingo, Methodist Minister for Buckland Brewer said:
“This is great news for everyone in Buckland Brewer. The Methodist community is keen to utilise our historic church for the benefit of all.
“The shop will be more than just a place to buy great food. It can be a hub for village life, addressing social isolation felt by many of our older residents and involving the whole community in volunteering to help run the shop.”
Buckland Brewer’s old village shop and post office closed three years ago. This means villagers now face a 12 mile round trip to pick up essentials such as newspapers, bread, fruit, vegetables and household goods. The local bus service has also faced cuts in the current financial crisis, meaning most journeys are by car.
The shop will be run by a non-profit organisation owned by its members. This democratic business model is used by two-thirds of community shops in Britain and has proved very successful.
In addition to fitting out the vestry, there are plans to provide disabled access and improved power supply. These works will be funded separately.
The £24,000 grant will be made under the Village SOS scheme (www.villagesos.org.uk), a Big Lottery Fund (BIG) and BBC initiative to help rural villages across the UK regenerate their communities through new community enterprises.
Other funding for the Buckland Brewer project will come from local fundraising events, other small grants and the membership share issue.