Monday, 7 May 2012

A test of community

The village shop is closing and the S.O.S has been sent out. Save our shop.

The current owners have been trying to sell for years but no one’s buying. It seems the village shop is in decline. Yet when threatened with closure all 900+ residents of our sleepy – yet upwardly mobile -  village come out to protest. So a campaign begins to keep the shop and run it ourselves. It's a real test of our community.
The big idea is a Community Shop & Post Office, owned by locals, run by locals, stocked with the things that locals want and opening just when locals need it.
This made me think, just how important to us all is having a local shop?
Very.
Ok, but do you drive past it to go and do your big shop in the local supermarket?
*shuffles uncomfortably in seat*
Do you use the post office only when you’ve carried that parcel in your bag for days cos you didn’t get chance to nip out in work?
Guilty as charged.
Do you only use the shop when you are at home and think it would be a nice, respectable middle class thing to do?
“Just walking down to the shop for the Sunday papers darling and some of those lovely organic sausages Matthew Fort raved about in the Guardian. Oh and they’ve just delivered some Hobbs bread, I do love those Baker Brothers.”
Yep, all of the above.
You see it’s not enough. Occasional use does not a thriving business make. So it’s being handed over to the community and it’s all very Big Society. We need to raise a lot of cash, quickly, and we need volunteers to run it. Soon.
The whole village has been asked to dig deep and buy shares within the next 4 weeks. This buys you a vote at the AGM and all being well, a small return in the form of a shop voucher.
I’m completely behind them and I hope this works. I also feel terribly guilty for not using it more in the past.
So go out and support your local businesses, spend with the people you know and keep your local shops going where you can – or at least where you can afford to. Use it, or as they say, lose it.
I’m off to buy shares. I’m an investor now.
uleycommunitystores@gmail.com