Share Offer Launch – Village Meeting Review

Thank-you to everyone that came along to our meeting at the Village Hall on Monday 6th November. The meeting was well attended by members of the local community.

Our Chair, Sam Sharp, started by giving an overview of our vision for the Weston Pantry, as a shop owned by the local community, serving the local community.

We presented our progress since the last meeting – that we had prepared our business plan and share offer, submitted our Community Ownership Fund application, been awarded the Community Share Standard Mark and applied for additional investment funding from the Community Shares Booster Fund.

We took the decision to run our share offer now, so that if things go to plan, we will be in a position to apply for commercial financing and begin the purchase process in the New Year. We felt that trying to run our share offer over Christmas or early in the New Year given it can be a tough time for people financially.

It is important to note that the outcome of the Community Ownership Fund application may not be known until after the end of our share offer. The expected timeframe for us to know the outcome is currently 2-3 months from the date of application (and it was submitted mid-October).

Alice Hillier-Tattersall, our newly appointed treasurer, gave an update on our funding requirements and put our ‘ideal’ £250,000 target into context regarding raising the additional funding required for the purchase of the Shop and Post Office. If we can raise £250,000 from our share offer, one lender will, in principle, provide us with a commercial mortgage of up to £150,000 in line with the estimated terms, costs and interest rates included in our business plan. We are still making enquries with other lenders who might offer larger loans which would be needed if we raise less than £250,000.

At the meeting, we were very pleased to report that we had raised a total of £45,250 of community share investment and donations in less than one week since the launch of our share offer on the 1st November.

David Sweetnam, who spoke at the original village meeting in February, also gave an empassioned speech on the importance of the Weston Pantry within our community and encouraging those that attended to assist with spreading the word to their friends, family, colleagues and neighbours.

At the meeting, we received donations of £2,000, share investments to the value of £1,000 and further pledges of share investments of between £10,000 and £15,000 – an absolutely fantastic result and it was great to meet and speak with members of the local community and thank them for their support.

We especially appreciated the support on Sunday, where 28 people, two horses and two dogs turned out with less than 24 hours notice for a photoshoot in front of the Weston Pantry. We even got lucky with the weather, considering the torrential rain on Saturday!

You can view the presentation slides from the meeting below: