Should/can we save Oxton Village Shop?

!!CALLING ALL OXTON RESIDENTS!! HAVE YOU FILLED IN YOUR SHOP SURVEY FORM?

Should/can we save Oxton Village Shop?

Please spend a few minutes to read this article and complete the short questionnaire that was enclosed in the September issue of ‘The Dover Beck’ * DEADLINE FOR RETURNS IS SUNDAY 15TH SEPTEMBER.

Post Office and Home Farm Stores, our Village shop 

 

You may be aware that our village shop and Post Office are at risk of closure.  The business has been on the market for a number of months but sadly, at the time of writing, there is no current interest to buy.

 

A village shop is a vital lifeline and for some people, especially those without transport, it is an important connection with the world beyond their front door. Much of the appeal of Oxton rests on its sense of community. The continuing presence of a shop would greatly benefit this community spirit. It is also important to note that having a village shop facility has a SIGNIFICENT bearing on property values.

Not surprisingly then, the importance of a village shop and PO was identified in the Village Plan exercise published in autumn 2011 (Project 25a) although no individual or group then came forward to investigate the opportunity of a community-run business. This summer, on 5th July, the Parish Council called a public meeting to ascertain the level of support for keeping the shop/PO open. At the meeting, Jill Jones (chairman) called for a vote. The response from approx 50 attendees was 100% in favour of keeping the shop (and PO) open. Subsequently a working group has been formed whose task is to investigate the feasibility of forming a community shop run by the village for the village.  The shop would need to have a mixture of PAID STAFF and VOLUNTEERS with any profit going towards village projects.

The enclosed questionnaire will be used to build on information in the Village Plan. The working group needs to understand YOUR views as to whether you feel that the shop/PO is worth saving, whether you would actually use it and/or GET INVOLVED in running it as a community-run business. The involvement of VOLUNTEERS is crucial to the ongoing success of the shop  and the offer of a SMALL AMOUNT of your time to run it will see the project succeed. WITHOUT SUFFICIENT VOLUNTEERS THE PROJECT WILL FAIL.

Please be as honest and realistic as possible in your answers. If you have the time to explain ‘why/because’ to some of your responses then that would give further context. Your responses will be treated in confidence. Drop off points are listed on the questionnaire. The questionnaire results will be published and discussed at a public meeting in the autumn (date to be advised), so please look out for details and attend if you can spare the time.

The project can only proceed if it has the FULL SUPPORT of the village in terms of people getting involved in the project group to set up the enterprise, working in the shop and actually buying goods and services from it on a regular basis to make the venture sustainable.

This type of venture has been successfully achieved in other villages. There are currently over 300 community-run shops in the UK and most of these have been set up with the support of the charity “Plunkett Foundation” (www.plunkett.co.uk) with whom we are liaising.

Oxton could be the next success story.

If you wish to speak directly to me as Chair of the Working Group, please contact:

Robyn Farrar (Corner Cottage) 07715105912

* If you have mislaid or not received for some reason a copy of the survey questionnaire in your September ‘Dover Beck’ then please email sablitzky@btinternet.com for a pdf version to be sent to you or a hard copy dropped off – before the Sunday 15th September deadline for returns

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