Public Consultation Meeting – A call to action!

The Weston SOS Committee held their public consultation meeting at the Village Hall on Tuesday 11th July.

Attendance at the meeting was less than we had hoped, but we believe that may be due to the summer holiday season and our limited time/ability to ‘get the word out’ prior to the meeting. We’re really grateful to everyone that was able to attend and show their support or sent their apologies for not being able to make it – thank-you!

The aims of the meeting were as follows:

  • To outline our vision for community ownership of the Weston Pantry
  • To present our progress so far, including results from the survey
  • Provide an outline of the business plan and the main challenges & risks
  • Seek additional committee support and launch our pledge form
  • Provide an opportunity for questions & feedback

This was a culmination of five months of gathering information, evaluating the possible options and lots of healthy discussion within the committee on the best course of action.

A copy of the slides/presentation from the meeting is available below – but please be aware that the figures/numbers given are based on an early/initial working draft of our business plan and are subject to change.

Unfortunately, due to some recent resignations from the committee and developments in relation to the funding available from the Community Ownership Fund being limited to £250,000, the picture we presented at the meeting was a little less optimistic than we had originally hoped for.

Help wanted – committee members

We cannot stress this enough – without recruiting additional members to the committee we will be unable to continue with our plan.

We are currently operating with just four members (one left soon after the meeting) and without a Secretary or Treasurer. We need to find people to fill these key positions but also to provide additional administrative, fundraising and community engagement support (leafleting, website updates, social media).

For those that have left the committee – three of them chose to leave after having a different ‘vision’ for the future of the shop who felt like they could no longer support and two had to leave due to personal reasons. I wish to thank them for their time and support that they gave to the committee in allowing us to get this far.

There are no special skills or experience required – as Chair I have no qualifications or particularly relevant experience in this area – myself, and the rest of the current committee, put ourselves forward purely on the basis that we thought we could make a difference.

We encourage anyone who wants to make our plan of community ownership a success to get in touch.

Pledge your support

At the meeting, we also provided copies of our pledge form – allowing you to make a pledge for a donation or purchase of community shares.

Collecting these pledges is key to demonstrating that there is sufficient financial support from the local community to save the Shop and Post Office.

You can download a copy of the form or fill it out online on our Pledge Your Support page.

Website Updates

Since the meeting, we’ve updated the website to reflect the vision and plan that was presented at the meeting. We’ve updated the following pages:

  • Our Vision – The Weston SOS vision for the future of the Shop and Post Office.
  • Our Plan – Outlining how we’re going to achieve community ownership.
  • Community Ownership – Providing more details about why we’ve chosen community ownership for the shop and information about community shares.
  • Our Progress – Highlighting the progress we’ve made over the last five months.
  • Make a pledge – An online form and printable copy of our pledge form so we can build a more detailed picture of the financial support available within the local community.
  • Support – We’ve updated our support page to show more ways you can help support Weston SOS – in particular in how we desperately need additional committee members to be able to continue.

In Summary

We believe we have a vision and plan for community ownership of the Shop and PO that secures its long term future as an asset to the community and we have also made considerable progress in making that vision a reality, but unfortunately we cannot continue without additional committee members, identifying a sub-postmaster and considerable financial support.

Again, thank-you to everyone that came along to the meeting and kind words spoken to members of the committee afterwards – we appreciate your input & support.

Sam Sharp
Weston SOS Chair