Following the sad death of David Hodgkiss, his widow, Shirley, wishes to sell Ravenbridge Stores and the flat above, preferably with the shop being in the hands of the residents of the community.
David’s philanthropic purchase of Ravenbridge Stores in 2010 led to the shop operating successfully until the present, through the unstinting efforts of a succession of Managers, currently Allan Armstrong, assisted by a group of wonderful volunteers.
Paul Kendall has produced a proposal which would enable local residents to collectively own the shop and to have a say in how it is run.
He has formed a small steering group consisting, so far, of himself, David Chamberlin, Paul Mills, Alan Volkers and Allan Armstrong to try to bring this proposal to fruition. This is an ambitious project, but it can be successful with the wholehearted and enthusiastic involvement of the community.
In normal times a meeting would be called to explain our proposals but, in the present pandemic conditions, this is not possible. A summary of our current thinking is set out below.
- With the assistance of the Plunkett Foundation, the steering group will form a Community Benefit Society, which will raise funds to purchase and run the shop essentially as it is being run at present.
- Investment in the Society will be in the form of shares which can be purchased by any individual. Each shareholder will have a single vote at general meetings of the Society, regardless of the amount contributed. Further details of the Community Benefit Society concept can be found at www.plunkett.co.uk. The capital raised will be supplemented by grants and, possibly, loans.
- Oversight of the Society will be in the hands of a committee, initially comprising some members of the steering group and some local residents. Over time, all members will be nominated and voted on by shareholders in the Society.
- Our first task will be to raise funds to purchase the premises, shop fixtures, fittings and stock, and to provide working capital. Subject to valuation it is estimated that the amount required will be in the region of £250,000. No decisions have yet been made on whether to retain the flat and possibly rent it out or to sell it. To a large extent, this will depend on the level of funding raised. If the flat were to be sold, this would be at market value, through a process open to all, with the proceeds going towards helping the funding of the shop.
This is a one-off opportunity to save your local village shop, and for you to both own and be involved in its future operations.
In order to help guide us we are hoping as many of you as possible would complete an online questionnaire which can be accessed via ravenbridgestores.co.uk. Copies of the questionnaire will also be available from Ravenbridge Stores.
We thank you in advance for your co-operation.