Community Stores Update Feb 2020

It’s been a while since the committee has put out an update of progress but that’s not to say progress is not being made, perhaps more slowly than we would like.  Our main goals have been to finalise the business and financial plan, without which we will not be able to move forward with funding, develop our community share offer and secure planning approval for the project.
 
On the business planning side, we are working with Wessex Community Assets to further develop our business and financial plans and the share offer document. We are in the final stages of review and our community share offer document is awaiting Community Shares Standard Mark approval. We have applied for investment from the Community Shares Booster Programme. Under this programme, up to £100,000 is available to match applications for shares from the public. Gaining the Community Shares Standard Mark is a prerequisite to securing match funding from the Booster Programme, which is funded by Power to Change and run by the Community Shares Unit. 
 
While the share offer will provide the core funding for the project, through the financial planning process we have determined that the share offer fundraising alone will not provide sufficient working capital to ensure the business has the best possible chance of success.  To that end we have made a number of grant applications to secure additional funding.  The process of applying for grant funding has involved a good deal more work and pushed our initial goal of opening in Spring of 2020 out towards the end of the year.  The good news is that we have had invites from two grant providers to make full applications.  Should our applications be successful, grants would fund some of the capital building costs and provide additional working capital so we can employ a full-time manager and volunteer coordinator.  One of the grant providers has also indicated that they would welcome a wider project scope to include additional community assets such as the playground and perimeter path for the field.  We will keep you up to date with funding progress and any changes to the scope of the project. We expect to launch the share offer in the Spring, stay tuned.
 
On the planning approval, the application for planning was submitted in November of 2019, we had hoped that it would have been on the agenda of the ENPA committee in January to enable us to move on with building regulation drawings.  The positive news is that the application will be discussed at the 3 March meeting and that the planning officers are recommending approval of the application.
 
The shop committee currently consists of 7 members and we are always looking for more people to lend a hand.  As a reminder all of the Trust committees are being reconstituted and to that end there’s a meeting on Wed 25 Feb at the village hall.  The Trust is run by the community for the community so if you are able and interested in volunteering please do come along and put your name down for the shop, village hall or housing committee. If you are not able to come along to the meeting and would like to volunteer please let our secretary Nick Constable know.
 
If you have any questions or would like to find out more please get in touch.

David Austin
Chair Parracombe Community Trust
 

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