A community share offer in Scotland is aiming to bring a new community food and market place to the Midlothian town of Penicuik.
Penicuik Storehouse will be a community benefit society comprised of a bakery, café, kitchen, food store and social supermarket. It will also provide the town with a local hub, strengthen the economy, as well as providing jobs and affordable local produce.
The share offer was launched in December and runs until the end of March.
Penicuik Storehouse was a co-operative society in its own right until merging with St Cuthberts (now Scotmid) in 1985. Scotmid now acts as the landlord of the site.
Roger Kelly, convenor of the Penicuik Community Alliance, said: “We see our project in many ways as a direct descendant of the old Penicuik Co-operative Association. [After the merger] all the PCA’s town centre premises were closed and then sold or leased.
“We have the same initials and the same logo as our predecessor, and that I think is part of our huge appeal for older local investors, who have fond memories of the old days when Penicuik was a thriving shopping hub.”
The Penicuik Community Alliance is hoping to raise £300,000 through selling shares in the project to local residents and those further afield with links to the town.
Mr Kelly said: “We’re after investors, even those with just £25 to put in, not donations. The objectives may be to provide a worthwhile space for the community and for local food, but this is a commercial project, and we intend to make it work on that basis.
“We’re optimistic about the future of Penicuik, and we believe the Storehouse can become an important hub for the local economy, bringing high quality jobs to the town for the long term and supporting the best local food producers. Now we need you to help us make that a reality.”
The Alliance has already received support from the Scottish Government (TCCCF Grant), Midlothian Council, Midlothian Voluntary Alliance, Social Investment Scotland and from Community Shares Scotland.
Kelly McIntyre, programme manager for Community Shares Scotland, said: “We’re absolutely delighted to be working with the Penicuik Community Alliance on the Storehouse project, which is exactly the sort of innovative idea Community Shares Scotland was set up to support. It’s what we love to see: a community group with that mix of practicality and ambition, determined to improve where they live and work.”
Mr Kelly added: “I hope that readers of the Co-op News will feel moved to invest in our project, either online or by post, using the forms provided.
“As a community benefit society we are proudly in the co-op tradition, and certain that citizen initiatives like ours have a vital part to play in the years ahead. We must not fail!”
- You can find out more about the share offer on their website www.penicom.net