Weston Pantry under threat!
Weston SOS Limited, a Community Benefit Society, is seeking to raise money to purchase the Weston Pantry Shop and Post Office from its current owner and bring it into community ownership. We believe this will secure its long-term future as an invaluable asset to residents and businesses of Weston-on-the-Green and the surrounding area.
Weston SOS Limited was incorporated as a Community Benefit Society in July 2023, following a village meeting in February where the prospect of losing the shop was raised following the current owner’s desire to leave the business and retire as sub-postmistress after transforming it and running the shop successfully for the last 6 years.
We’ve become members of the Plunkett Foundation, received funded pre-application support (including a professional advisor and grant), and submitted our application for a £250,000 grant from the Community Ownership Fund which we will use in conjunction with the capital raised from this Share Offer, matched funding from the Community Share Booster Fund (if successful) and a commercial mortgage to purchase the Shop and Post Office.
We’ve sought the support of the local community for this venture with a survey sent out to the local community, engaging with the community via our website, village meetings(s), the local Village News, social media and received letters of support from the Parish Council and our local MP.
Why ‘Save our Shop’?
It provides essential groceries, local produce, a sale outlet for local cottage industries, hot/cold lunches including freshly made sandwiches, coffee and a full post office service including postage, banking services and foreign currency exchange. Did you know it even provides a weekly dry cleaning service?
The Weston Pantry provides:
- Convenient access to essential services of the Post Office including postal & banking access.
- Somewhere for the elderly and disabled population to purchase essential groceries without the need for a car or public transport.
- A lunch or snack stop for employees of local businesses, tourists and passing trade.
- A social hub for casual conversation and making connections at the heart of the community.
- Supporting local suppliers and reducing ‘food miles’.
- Providing an outlet for the creations of local cottage industries.
- Supporting the Church and Village Hall with the Friends produce.
- Supporting the local food bank collection organised by the Parish Council.
To purchase the freehold of the current shop property, the stock and including any legal fees / taxes we would need to raise a total of approximately £650,000-£675,000. We have applied for a matched grant of £250,000 from the Community Ownership Fund, government support designed to help bring local assets at risk of closing into community ownership.
If unable to raise sufficient funds to purchase the freehold, the shop may be sold on the open market and depending on the intentions of the new owner could close or be redeveloped.
We’re launching our Share Offer in November to allow the local community to purchase community shares.