Village Stores Update June 2020

Since the last update in February, despite the disruption, we are moving ahead with our plans. However, the lock-down came in before we could arrange a physical meeting of the new committee to formally constitute. The new committee will be embracing the new norm of online meetings and will be electing a new chairperson, secretary and Parracombe Community Trust board representative very shortly.

Working with Wessex Community Assets we have focused on finalising the business and financial plan to be able to secure match funding and launch our community share offer. The business plan and financials had by early May been developed to a point where we felt confident to submit our formal application to the Community Shares Booster Programme for a share-for-share match investment. The application was submitted for their review mid-May and we received a series of recommendations for the business plan and financials to help us ensure we have the best possible chance to secure their investment. Those recommendations are currently being incorporated and the revised application will be reviewed for a formal decision 17 June. We are very confident of a successful outcome of that panel meeting. We are also continuing our grant funding applications to support capital building costs and capital running in the first years of operation.

The community share offer document has been developed and reviewed to meet the Community Shares Standard Mark. We need now to update the offer in line with the recommended changes in the business plan and adjust to the new offer timetable. The offer will be launched in August to raise an optimal target of £72,500 from community investments by the end of October. With share-for-share matching from the Booster Programme we will have the required £145,000 to complete the build and fit out. Our minimum target is £50,000, if we were to only achieve this amount then we will need rely on grant funding to support the capital costs of building, fit out and stocking.

On the planning side approval for planning was granted in March. You can review the planning application documents online. We are now working with our architect Will Bowden to complete the more detailed building control drawings and start to look at interior layout and finishes. With a timetable that has the shop opening in the Summer of 2021 we will be advertising very shortly for expressions of interest for construction.

While these times are unprecedented and the future in so many ways is uncertain, the Trust board feel that the current situation has galvanised our community more than ever and our determination to proceed and make Parracombe Community Stores a success.  Stay tuned for the share offer.

David Austin
Chair Parracombe Community Trust

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