Yes, the building is up and was handed over to us by M C Robins on 18 June 2010, another milestone passed. Beautifully built, we are very grateful to them and their sub-contractors, to the architect Mike Orr and his team from Anderson Orr, and especially to Phil Jones who has devoted countless hours from his busy life to mastermind it all. The shop-fitters have been in and, at the time of writing in mid July, are all but finished; the refrigerators have been installed (with some difficulty as we had to get them in through the Village Hall as they were too big to turn at the entrance of the shop); all the multitude of details are being ironed out – CCTV, fire alarms, the list is long but will all be finished in time.
We and the Trustees of the Village Hall have been concerned about the ever present Health and Safety issues. New white lines will be painted on the road beside the Village Hall and notices put up to warn pedestrians about cars and vice versa. Do take care, we don’t want any accidents.
Celia Collett and Corinne Jones have moved fast to set up the operations of the shop. Stock has been ordered, the EPOS system is being learned, multiple permissions have been sought from numerous authorities – local and national – and we have signed up for a credit card system. Stephanie, our manager, is hard at work negotiating with suppliers and is concentrating on local produce. Jane Barker, the greatly experienced but quaintly titled Development Worker from the Oxfordshire Rural Community Council, has helped enormously and freely in familiarising over 60 volunteers with the operations of a shop, not just a fun operation but also a commercial activity which needs to pay its way and abide by the many disciplines of a retail outlet. We recruited a number of new volunteers at the fete and there are more, I am sure, in the village, so do contact Madeline Sanger on 833655 if you would like to join the merry crew!
The village has been amazingly generous in the amount donated to the shop – over £75,000 – and we cannot thank you enough. LEADER, a European funding body, The Plunkett Foundation, the Trust for Oxfordshire’s Environment, SODC, our Parish Council and the Community Aggregates Fund have also be hugely supportive with grants and the Co-operative Loan Fund has advanced us a loan. In total we raised over £220,000 to pay for building and running the shop; David Dobbin and his fundraising group worked very hard and truly deserve our gratitude. We now need to manage our cash flow as we get repaid after we have paid out – but it is under control.
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