Somerset villagers receive financial support for shop venture

The villagers of Spaxton in Somerset are building a new community shop with help from Co-operative & Community Finance. Locals formed a community benefit society in January 2011,...

The villagers of Spaxton in Somerset are building a new community shop with help from Co-operative & Community Finance.

Locals formed a community benefit society in January 2011, after the proprietor of the village’s only shop announced that he would soon be ceasing trading. 291 members raised nearly £30,000 through two community share offers; funds which will be topped up by a loan from Co-operative & Community Finance.

The money will go towards the building and initial stocking of the shop, including the purchase and installation of fixtures and fittings.

The new structure will be timber framed and assembled on site, with building work scheduled to take 12 weeks. It will stand on the high street, next to Spaxton Village Hall and opposite the village school. This location is safer than the previous shop, with much better street access and space for parking.

Richard Lee, a representative of the shop, said: “We wanted to build a new shop which would benefit the entire community. Coming together as a group gave us the opportunity to do that.”

The next nearest shop is three miles away, and the next nearest supermarket is five miles away. Public transport services are limited, with only two buses a week travelling through the village.

Added Mr Lee: “We’ve always had an active and involved community in Spaxton, but the new shop has reinforced that. We’ve had so much support from all different members of the community, especially the Village Hall Committee, who’ve been really kind and helpful.”

The shop will sell groceries, fresh fruit and vegetables, newspapers, magazines and greetings cards. It will also act as a tourist information point and Post Office. A team of local volunteers, overseen by a part-time manager, will run the shop.

Ian Rothwell of Co-operative & Community Finance commented: “It’s good to see that after a number of years of hard work from many members of the Spaxton Community, their shop has finally come to fruition.”

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