Our village shop faced an uncertain future when the former owner decided to sell-up. With our nearest supermarket over 10 miles away, the shop played a vital role for the community and we could not be without it, not just for the fabulous local produce stocked, but it was a place where people could come in for a chat.
Fortunately for the villagers the former owner Michael Baker, who opened the shop as a community store back in 2009, not only came up with the idea of a business owned by local residents but was also extremely benevolent in letting us purchase the property for a much-reduced price.
Before taking on the role as the shops new owners, we reached out to the Plunket Foundation ( https://www.plunkett.co.uk ), a specialist consultancy with experience in not-for-profit community projects. They assisted us with a feasibility study and helped draft a business plan which enabled us to identify that the project was definitely viable. Their help has been invaluable.
So, in September 2014 the local community came together and raised nearly £45,000 via a shareholder scheme. That, together with a bank loan, meant we were able to make the purchase and keep the heart of our community alive. Every excess we make from the shop goes either back into the store or the community.
We have also been the recipients of generous funding from local businesses and organisations; Magnox, Essex Community Foundation and RWE Innogy UK and ECC Community Initiatives Fund, they have all supported us in keeping the shop maintained, the purchase of vital equipment; shelving, chiller cabinets, counters and assisting us with our latest project, a tea room for locals and visitors alike. We are extremely grateful for their support.
Today we employ a full-time manager to run the shop and Post Office, which is operated as a job share-scheme and over 30 fabulous volunteers running the store on a shift basis, keeping the shop open 7 days a week.
What they are saying:
Katy Woddington, RWE Innogy UK
“This shop is the perfect example of a community working together for something they truly believe in and one which has longevity.”
RT. HON. John Whittingdale, OBE MP
“the shop plays a central role in the Bradwell community and we owe a debt of gratitude to all the volunteers, as well as to Magnox which has always been such a strong supporter”
Bob Nichols, Site Closure Director, Magnox
“The Bradwell Community Shop has been a key local asset for our staff, contractors and local residents alike and we hope that the new equipment will enable the shop to operate for many years to come.”