Many thanks to all who have supported our project in 2019. There is every indication that 2020 will be an exciting year that will see our project realised, as will be explained below.
In the last update, we had just received notification of our success in applying for £100,000 in the form of a grant/loan from the Plunkett Foundtaion. We have also been invited to apply for a blended grant/loan of £150,000 from the Somerset Community Foundation Enterprise Fund. Application papers have already been submitted and a presentation has been scheduled for Jan 20th. There is some cause for optimisim that our application will be viewed favourably. These two combinecd with a successful community share offering will take our funding to £450,000. It is anticipated that topping up to the project objective of £471,000 will be achieved through other small grants, applications for some of which have already been prepared. The project economics have been remodelled in line with the terms of the two major sources of funding. I am pleased to report that after start-up, both the profit and loss acount and the cash flow are positive for the first five years.So we have moved from a position of cheer leading success, to having a clear view of how success will be achieved. The Business Plan will be modified both to reflect the sources funding and our new anticipated time-line.
The single biggest condition placed against this success is achieving a successful community share offering. At Christmas our total stands at just less than £148,000 across 184 contributors. We need to reach our goal of £200,000 in calendar Q1. If there are people who have been reluctant to invest due to a concern around the viability of the project, the time has come to set those concerns aside, particulaly now that we have been given advance assurance that investors will be eligable for SITR (Social Investment Tax Relief). Some frequently asked questions around SITR have been posted at https://www.stokestgregory.
org/social-invest-tax-relief- your-questions-answered/ . Success in the community share offering would virtually guarantee success in our fundraising efforts.
The other important activity has been the successful installation of the ‘Shop in a Box’ at the Village Hall. This interim solution, designed to ensure continuity of operation for a shop in the village will be run by Ian and Karen until March 31st when it will be taken over by the community. The SiaB will open on Januray 6th. In the period leading up to the end of March. Ian and Karen have offered to provided training for volunteers who are willing to help once the shop is turned over to the community. If you have an interest and are willing to help please contact Marilyn Clarke at firstname.lastname@example.org
It would be remiss to leave the subject of the Village Stores without a special mention for Ian and Karen. The village is a better place for their many and varied contributions over the years they have run the business. They can reflect on the success of their efforts in the form of a legacy where the value of having a shop in the village is reflected in our continuing efforts to emulate what they have achieved.
In conclusion, we move in to the New Year with a level of optimism that is higher than at any point since we kicked-off the project in the middle of 2019. We are now starting to deal with the nuts and bolts of running a community venture and will begin the process of looking for paid staff for both the pub and the shop in the New Year.
From the HOTV team, we say thank-you for 2019, and extend to all of you very best wishes,and in particular for a successful delivery of our project..