Benenden community shop – keeping the village shop alive

Benenden Community Shop aims to be the heart of the community.

For many people the shop provides an essential lifeline, for others, it is valued as a convenience which would be sorely missed. Some will discover something new.

Benenden School has agreed to purchase The Poplars, which includes that part of the building we know as the Village Shop. The residential element will provide much needed accommodation for school staff and Benenden Community Shop Limited (a recently formed Community Benefit Society) will lease the commercial premises on a long-term basis.

Post Office services will continue, and ‘Benenden’s’ will stock a wide range of goods within a bright, welcoming environment. It will include a small café area with public wifi.

Most importantly, the entire business will be we run by the community for the community. The plan is to staff the store with professional management, supported by volunteers.

Funding is vital, and you can support the project by participating in this share offer. Our business plan which is available on line here clearly shows a business model with financial viability, even assuming a cautious rate of growth.

Shareholders will become members of a Community Benefit Society under the terms of the Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies Act 2014. They will have the right to vote for, and stand for election to, a Management Committee that will have overall responsibility for the enterprise.

Naturally any financial surplus will be invested back into community projects or charities chosen by the members. In buying shares you won’t only secure the convenience of a village shop and local Post Office, and create another place to meet. You will be founding something which will contribute locally in many ways, for many years.

Any person who buys a share or shares becomes a member of the Society. They can vote on decisions that will affect how the shop is run and subsequently how profits made can be re-invested into our community. The intention is that the whole community can benefit from this opportunity.

The new shop layout will be well-designed and appealing. It will utilise computerised systems for accurate stock control thus helping to keep costs down. The shop will offer friendly service and be welcoming. The shop café will be available as a meeting place – a formula which has proved itself to be successful elsewhere.

The target is to raise a minimum of £30,000 but ideally they would like to raise at least £60,000 through the Share Offer. This sum is required for start-up costs, legal fees, refitting the existing shop premises e.g. counters, chillers, other equipment and for working capital.

To date (June 2015), the Benenden Community Shop has raised over £70,000 from over 120 investors. Take a look at their project page here.

Community Shares Standard
Community Shares Standard

This share offer meets the Community Shares Standard

Benenden Community Shop