The Shop at Crowle was selected as a finalist for the Plunkett Foundation’s 2019 Rural Community Business Awards in the category of ‘Investing in Local People’!
Putting The Shop back in Crowle
The last shop in Crowle closed in 1989. Research carried out in and around Crowle over the last decade indicated strong interest in a community shop and café.
In 2016 Crowle Parish Council reached out for a group of volunteers to explore the viability of setting up such a facility. This group examined three key questions:
- What was the level of demand and support for such a facility?
- Were there any premises that were suitable, available and affordable?
- How much money would be needed, and how could this be raised?
After in-depth local research in 2016 proved the demand for a shop, the following steps were taken, with the support of Crowle Parish Council:
- a new Community Benefit Society was set up – Crowle Community Shop Limited
- planning consent was obtained for a new building next to Crowle Parish Hall
- a detailed business plan was developed and launched in July 2017 at a Food Fayre to which local producers were invited to offer tastings
- £30,000 was raised in the community, via a share sale and donations and other local fund-raising activities
- grants were secured totalling £79,000.
Site work commenced in May 2018 and the shop building was erected and fitted out (largely by volunteers) over the months up to the opening date in October 2018.
Over 100 local people contributed to the hard work involved throughout the project.
Ownership and constitution
The Shop at Crowle is a community-owned enterprise with over 150 shareholder Members who each invested at least £10, set up as a Community Benefit Society named Crowle Community Shop Limited. The Shop has a constitution (click here) developed by the Plunkett Foundation, a charitable organisation that supports community enterprises such as shops and pubs.
The Shop is run by a Management Committee, democratically elected by the shareholder Members at the Annual General Meeting on a ‘one member, one vote’ basis.
The second AGM was held on 30 September 2019. Copies of the 2018/19 Report can be downloaded here and the Financial Statements here. For the Minutes from the first meeting held on 30 September 2018 click here.
Becoming a Member
New Members are welcome at any time; please contact our Chairman, Stephen Denne, for more details – email@example.com
Data protection: Your personal details are safe with us. We will never share them with third parties. Click here for our privacy practices.
Meet the Team
The current Management Committee members are:
- Stephen Denne – Chairman
- Trish Hartley- Vice-Chairman
- Howard Painter- Treasurer
- Nick Brett – Secretary
- Sue Cole
- Carolyn Bull – Shop Manager
Operationally, the Management Committee delegates tasks to a number of sub-committees, as follows, each overseen by nominated members of the Management Committee:
- Business strategy and planning
- Stock policy/planning and supplier management
- Trading regulatory
- Premises/building/facilities management and maintenance
- Investor relations
- HR management
- Volunteers management
- Marketing, promotions and communications
The Shop at Crowle is a community venture in every sense – set up and run by the community, for the community. Our volunteers and shareholder Members hail not just from Crowle but also many nearby villages – and further afield too.
And it’s more than ‘just a shop’. The Shop creates a range of wider benefits for local people and businesses – including:
- an opportunity for those who wish to ‘put something back into the community’ through volunteering
- a new social focus, helping to increase social integration and reduce isolation
- providing CV-enhancing work experience for:
- young people aged 14 and over (including, for example, those taking on the Duke Of Edinburgh Award challenge)
- those looking to get back into work after a gap, and
- those seeking a safe and supportive environment to learn and interact.
- increased spend within the community, enhancing the local rural economy by supporting local suppliers and farmers
- a positive impact on the environment through fewer ‘food miles’
- potentially, using trading surplus to fund new facilities and awards in the community.
Our partners and supporters
In addition to our individual shareholder Members, The Shop has received invaluable support from many quarters.
Our grant funders: BCRS, Big Lottery ‘Awards for All’, Crowle Charities, Crowle Parish Council, Severn Waste Environmental Fund, The Prince’s Countryside Fund, Worcestershire County Council, and Wychavon District Council.
Local organisations who have given financial sponsorship: Crowle Baby & Toddler Group, The Chequers at Crowle, Crowle Community Tea Shop, The Friends of Crowle School, The Galton Arms at Himbleton, Crowle Pre-School, Crowle Scout Group, Crowle Searchers Football Club, Crowle Tennis Club, and the WI branches at Crowle and Himbleton.
Brown & Fincher of Droitwich and Mark Ellis Interiors of Pinvin have generously donated or subsidised kitchen appliances and equipment.
Our landlord, Crowle Parish Hall Trust, have given much valued support and expertise.
Finally – the Shop project could not have happened without the enthusiastic and committed team of many volunteers who have undertaken fundraising, fitting out and working in the Shop. Find out more on volunteering in The Shop here.
The Shop at Crowle’s proposition is:
- to be a local community shop that provides quality local produce and products plus a range of convenience/top-up items at a competitive price, and
- a new focus for the community, where people can meet and enjoy light refreshments in a friendly and welcoming environment
Our core values are:
- to provide an efficient, professional and responsive service to our customers
- to achieve integrity, openness, accountability and honesty
- to value and respect all those individuals with whom we are associated
Environmental and sustainability policy
We recognise the potential adverse impact of The Shop’s operations and activities on the local and wider environment and community. We therefore seek to operate as a responsible member of the community, taking practical and proportionate steps to minimise negative impact on our ‘footprint’ through good environmental practice.
Our policy in this area includes:
- sustainably produced, free range, organic and free trade product options wherever possible
- a high standard of insulation to retain heat (and keep cool in hot weather)
- efficient electrical appliances, and low-energy lighting
- cost-effective water heaters, and recycled paper towels where practicable
- paper/recyclable/non-plastic packaging as far as possible
- bio-degradeable cleaning materials.
For more details on our policy, please contact Carolyn Bull, Shop Manager (firstname.lastname@example.org; 01905 381416).