Share Certificates & Members Update

All members/investors of Weston SOS Limited have been contacted by email on/around Saturday 2nd March. If you haven’t received an email from chair@weston-sos.org with your share certificate, please check your junk mail folder.

A small number of investors have not provided an email address, so a printed copy of the share certificates and update letter were distributed early this week.

We also sent the following update along with the share certificates:

Dear Weston SOS Member,

Congratulations – due to the considerable support from our local community, Weston SOS Limited has exceeded its minimum target for our share offer which ended on the 31st January. As such, your application for shares in Weston SOS Limited has been accepted and you will find your share certificate attached. If there are any errors, please let do us know at the earliest opportunity.

Please read the important information and update below.

Totals

We raised a total of £161,250 in community shares from 115 investors. We’ve also received £5,830 in donations, creating a grand total raised from the community of £167,080 – a fantastic achievement! Most of our supporters (77%) were from Weston-on-the-Green, but we also received share applications from Bletchingdon, Chesterton, Kirtlington and Middleton Stoney as well as some from much further afield! Thank-you all so much for your support. It is incredible that we were able to exceed our minimum target by over £50,000!

Finance Costs

As we didn’t reach our ‘ideal’ target of £250,000 from the share offer, we expect to need a commercial finance of around £232,000 and as such we are unable to secure the lower interest rate finance options. We have submitted a finance application to Ecology, who have offered us a variable interest rate of 9.04% over 25 years. This is a considerable interest cost and will somewhat limit our ability to allow share withdrawals and the interest rates we can offer on our community shares.

One option to alleviate this would be via loans from our members – if any of our members would be willing/able to offer a large long-term loan at a more competitive rate, please do let us know!

Committee Support – Treasurer & Secretary

Our current treasurer, Alice, is expecting a baby in May (Congratulations!) and will be stepping down from the committee in April. We will therefore need to appoint a replacement. If you have any treasurer/financial/accounting experience, we would really like to hear from you. Alice has been a great asset to the committee and will be missed, but we wish her well with her new addition to the family.

We are also still looking for a company Secretary on the committee – this is a legal requirement of a Community Benefit Society. If you can spare a few hours a month to organise member meetings (if possible, also our committee meetings) and capture minutes, that would be a huge help. It would also be great if they could spare some additional time to act as ‘member relations’ and helping to provide regular updates to our members.

I, as Chair, am intending to stay in post until the first AGM (which will take place once we have secured the Shop and Post Office – after all the hard work is done!), but we need to fill these important roles to provide me with adequate support and allow me to focus on our mission to bring the Shop and Post Office into community ownership!

What happens next?

Now that we have the final totals from our share offer, we’ve been busy applying for the commercial finance that we need to purchase the Shop and Post Office – it is hoped that the application will be submitted in early March. A successful application will allow us to make an offer to the current owner and allow us to start the application process with the Post Office. When we are ready, we will hold a members’ meeting to present the information and hold a vote on whether to proceed with the purchase. We want our members to be active and engaged in our decision-making.

What happens if we’re unsuccessful?

We’ve been working hard to keep our costs/expenditure as low as possible until we are sure we can proceed (finance secured, offer accepted & successful Post Office application). We have had some expenditure – to pay the fees to the Crowdfunder platform and the initial application fee for the commercial finance – totalling no more than £5,000. If we are unsuccessful at this early stage, we would expect to return a large proportion of your investment (we hope at least 90-95%).

Apologies

Please accept our apologies for the delay in notifying members of the result of the share offer, this is partly due to limited time available, a period of illness, needing to collect some final information from our members that we needed to confirm the collate the share applications from the various methods (paper application form, website form and the Crowdfunder platform). We will try to share more regular updates with our members via our website and Facebook page.

Finally

Thanks once again for your amazing support.

If you have any further questions, comments, feedback or suggestions please do speak to myself, or a member of the committee.

Regards,

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Sam Sharp
Chair – Weston SOS Limited