EAST MORTON COMMUNITY SHOP MEETING
13.1.16 AT THE EAST MORTON INSTITUTE.
Chair Lee Senior and Richard Tassell
Presentation by Denise Wilson Clapham Community Shop.
Approximately 30 residents attended this meeting.
Denise gave an inspiring presentation as outlined on the Power Point presentation (see village website, community shop ). The presentation outlined how and where the community shop started, how the residents had been involved, funding arrangements, and governance. Denise was able to stay and answer a number of questions form the audience.
The Key advice she gave was:
• Join the Plunkett Organisation for guidance and advice.
• Consult widely
• Engage widely
• Include a range of skills and crucially foster enthusiasm
• Budget for a paid member of staff
• Be prepared for creative tension
What does the paid member of staff do?
A full time manager is employed and paid £19,000p.a. They also found they could employ a Part time member of staff for weekends (8 hours) No member of staff is on their own. A volunteer is also present. Volunteers are not overseen by the paid staff. A volunteer organiser oversees the rota and training.
Other key roles ongoing roles include finance management and project management.
What is the main area of business?
The shop sells every day products. Local producers are used for fresh products, including farm lamb, fruit and veg, cheeses, eggs etc. Bread is baked on the premises.
Some other services are offered such as dry cleaning. Post office services were considered but not viable given the amount of training and commitment and small return.
What are the shop opening hours?
8am to 5.30pm /6.30 on Thursday, and 8- 1.30 Saturday and Sunday (later in summer)
Do you have a problem with finding volunteers?
There are 40 volunteers on the books. There are a range of different roles e.g cleaning, setting up, baking, serving. Of the 40, 25 are very active and may be on the rota twice a week. There are the normal pressures around holiday time and sickness. The main issue is keeping people involved and keeping the momentum going.
Of the £48,000 raised, how much was from shares (600 residents in Clapham)?
Approximately £28,000. The rest was from grants and loans and donations.
Re the share issue, this money was held in trust until it was clear that the required level of funding was raised from other sources and undertaking was made for it to be returned if other funds were not sufficiently available. There is no guarantee that shares can be returned once the business is set up, they will be held for the maximum period of three years. The minimum cost of a share is £10.People may purchase more but they still only get one vote at AGMs. If the business continues in profit, dividends maybe paid but Denise advised that first three years is setting up and establishing the business, and no return would be made within that period. It is the discretion of the management committee whether a dividend would be paid at the end of that period and there after (see model rules)
Is it mainly residents who use the shop?
Yes, though tourists and walkers contribute more in summer.
It was estimated that the shop would need to take £250 a day to be viable. On average takings have been around £450. In peak periods such as Christmas with offers and hampers for example, or high number of visitors, takings can be as high as £1000.
Would you encourage a new business to open every day?
People forget which times it is open and become disillusioned if they turn up and its closed and may not come back.
Who provides the skill to purchase?
The paid manager is responsible for this. A scan system is used and deliveries are made once a week. A manager was borrowed from another shop for training purposes and then when the job was advertised applied.
What percentage of customers are pedestrians rather than drivers?
Mostly pedestrians unless they are coming down from the surrounding farms as it is a rural area. There is no designated parking.
How big is the main shop?
Approximately 2/3 of the ‘café area’ in the Institute, plus another room and a kitchen. There is no designated area for coffee but the community element as a point of contact is very important.
Size does not need to be an issue. A shop near Alston is tiny and worth a visit. Lythe Bank, Sandsend near Whitby is very small but successful, and includes a café. It is run entirely by volunteers.
Birstwith near Harrogate is tiny. This is not a community shop but also worth a visit.
How much is bread a draw?
Definitely on the school run! It is baked from frozen and smells delicious.
Tourists/walkers should be catered for.
Birstwith for example, sells a lot of bacon sandwiches.
Denise was thanked for her very valuable contribution to the meeting.
Other items on the agenda
Thanks to Ted Batley and the Village Society for supporting and taking forward and securing out line planning permission, for change of use of the building. Cllr Malcolm Slater arranged for a discussion between Steph Moore from Bradford Council and Richard Tassell to consider an asset transfer and further information will be available in due course in relation to the progress of this process.
The asset transfer application will need to run in parallel with the development of a feasibility study and draft business plan
The cost of conversion of the building is not yet known.
The exact size of the building is known but not available for the meeting. An approximate size was outlined.
It is hoped to achieve the above actions within the next 8/12 weeks.
What % of shares went towards refurbishment in the Clapham Shop?
Answer: Grant money was allocated for specifics approximately £38,000 was spent on the building.
Which buying group is used in Clapham ?
Dry items are purchased from Bookers wholesalers who deliver once a week.
Fresh items are produced and purchased locally as far as possible and constitute between 40%-60% of goods sold.
Legal structure and compliance
Model rules and governance will be as outlined by the Plunkett foundation documents.
A Community Share Prospectus will be published in due course and distributed to every household in order to raise funds through community share issue.
Donations (not shares) are invited in order to raise initial capital to be used to register with the Plunkett Foundation and in turn with the Financial Conduct Authority as a Community Benefit Society, East Morton Community Shop Ltd The cost of this is £570.00 – Please note there is a pay pal tab on the community shop page on the village web site. The Village Society is acting as banker. A donation of £10 is suggested.
An interim steering group will be set up with Richard Tassell as Chair, and Lee as Vice Chair. Ted Batley will be the architect for the project. Other key roles include retail expertise and experience, building /conversion work, finance/ accountancy and book keeping skills, project management, business support/administrative skills (secretary), media and communication. Lee will lead a group on fund raising.
The roles and needs of the steering group will change over time. Anyone interested, is invited to the initial steering group meeting on Wednesday 27th January 7.30-9.00 in the Institute.
Ongoing engagement and communication with all residents is essential and will be maintained. Email is the easiest way to contact. The shop email address is: email@example.com
It is proposed that a reference group comprising key contacts of the village’s voluntary groups will be developed as one way of keeping people up to date with the project’s development.
The school will be approached as a key point of information dissemination eg ‘bag drop’
Notice boards and the East Morton Institute web site will also be used to advertise meeting dates.
Enquiries may be made to, Richard Tassell telephone: 01274 564653 or email:firstname.lastname@example.org
Donations directly through secure Pay pal via the East Morton Institute web site (see above) or by cheque, via the secure post box at the institute. Please mark for the attention of Richard Tassell (Community Shop)
The Steering group will meet on January 27th 7.30pm at the Institute.