Your Shop & Post Office

The community shop and Post Office will be a hub for community life in Much Marcle. From the outset it has been shaped by the needs of the local community.

Your Feedback

A questionnaire distributed to 600 households in the local area in April 2019 informed much of the initial planning. The key findings included:

  • A proposed new village shop was mostly wanted for Post Office services, cash point, the ability to purchase last minute items and to avoid driving to a town.
  • Items that people felt could be offered in a new shop were voted for as (% responses given): affordable basics (84%), local produce, garden produce, free range eggs (74%), newspapers (66%), fresh butchery, bakery & dairy products (60%), stationery and cards (49%), artisan goods, deli & organic products (40%), alcoholic & soft drinks (39%). 
  • An overwhelming number voted for the village crossroads as the ideal location for the new shop & Post Office.  The village hall was supported by a few.
  • In terms of ideal opening times overall the feeling was for it to be open as often as possible for as long as possible!

Other overriding themes were the idea that the shop needs to sell something special/quality to obtain a reputation in order to draw customers in, the importance of passing trade to ensure the viability of the project, and the importance of it acting as a community hub – a place for meeting, notices and the exchange of information, and the importance of a café with wifi to assist with that.

Your Shop: Plans

These views have heavily informed the initial plans, which are outlined below.

The Marcle Community Shop will be a new built facility, in keeping with the village look and feel and minimising the impact on the setting of neighbouring listed buildings.

The shop interior will be purpose designed, and the layout, fittings and product displays will create an attractive and welcoming retail environment, where the look and feel will be 'a friendly village shop' with café services and a flexible “pop-up shop” area, in order to provide a community hub.

The building will cover a floor area of 150 square meters.

A newly recruited, full-time, experienced and enterprising shop manager will run the business. The shop manager will be supported by a team of trained and dedicated volunteers. In later years additional fractional staff may be recruited.

The Community Shop will offer the products and services that are most useful to the community, at competitive and fair prices, and provide a market for local producers. The shop will meet the needs for convenience, basic shopping (fresh produce, meal-for-tonight, top-up items, etc). It will in addition provide a good range of artisan, quality items that will expect to achieve a higher margin than basic provisions and will have seasonal/festive promotions. Our aspiration for the shop is that it will be increasingly used for weekly shops, attract customers from further afield and that we can provide a delivery service for less mobile parishioners.

Yes. We have liaised with Post Office Ltd about hosting a Post Office Local. This model entails having the Post Office counter as part of the main shop counter with a shared POS system. The shop manager and a number of volunteers will be given training. A PO Ltd trainer will be on-site during the first week that the post office is open.

A Post Office Local provides all the basic products and services, and most importantly, access to cash.

Apart from convenience for customers, another benefit of providing post office services is that it will generate additional footfall for the village shop. However, it is acknowledged that the establishment of the Post Office Local may only happen after the Community Shop has been opened.

Nevertheless, thanks to the Memorial Hall Committee and the easing of Covid restrictions, it was possible to set up a weekly mobile Post Office outside the Memorial Hall as of 7th of April 2021.

At this stage the proposed opening times are:

Village shop: 7:30am-5pm Monday-Friday and 8am-1pm Saturday

Post Office: 8am-4pm Monday-Friday and 8am-12pm Saturday

Registration as ‘Much Marcle Community Shop Limited’ under the Co-operative and Community Benefit Society Act 2014 with the Financial Conduct Authority was achieved in May 2020. The Plunkett Foundation Model Rules of Association go with it. The chosen legal structure allows genuine community ownership with equal democratic control. A Business account with the Co-operative Bank has been opened.

An estimated £250k is needed to build and set up the Community Shop. With conservative income estimates, the shop will be in profit from year two onwards. As a not-for-profit organisation we will aim for break even or modest profits.

Any profits can be used for possible over payments to the loan, reinvestment into the business, for community projects and possibly interest on shares of the members.

It is our vision that the launch of the Much Marcle Community Shop will be in about 18 months time in the first half of 2024, although the Coronavirus pandemic and other local or global events may cause some further delay.

Absolutely. Given the extent of the proposed opening hours and services, and to keep costs down, a team of trained volunteers will be required to provide support to the shop and the shop manager.

At least 60 will be required to keep the business running. Volunteers will be recruited in the months leading up to and following the shop opening and a rota will be developed to suit volunteers’ requirements. For the shop to operate efficiently volunteers will need to be able to commit on a regular basis for short periods of time of at least 3 hours.

Some volunteers will need to fulfil a management function and/or be trained to provide post office services when the shop manager is absent or otherwise occupied. A few volunteers will also be sought for standby duties, to be able to take over when a regular volunteer is unable to fulfil their shift. Volunteers will be expected to arrange a swap with another volunteer when they know in advance that they will be unable to perform a shift.

Staff and volunteers will receive an induction course in using the ‘point of sale’ till system, food safety, health and safety, hygiene, and age-related sales. A handbook of policies and procedures will be written. Regular refresher training will be provided and there will be monitoring and mentoring from the shop manager. New volunteers will be accompanied by another trained volunteer for the first session or two.

We are committed to minimising the environmental impacts of the community shop. Conscious of neighbours, we will keep noise levels and light pollution down at all times. We will also aim for minimising use of energy, reducing waste, and cutting resource consumption. We expect this policy to be cost neutral during start-up and that it will reduce day-to-day running costs. Below are some of the key ways in which we will build environmental management measures into the setting up and running of the community shop (measures will be finalised in consultation with the architect and shop manager):

        • Wherever possible we will source used but high quality fixtures and fittings.
        • We will specify cost-effective energy-reducing measures such as primary insulation, we will invest in energy-efficient refrigerators, chillers and lighting, and we will investigate both the sourcing of electricity from a green energy provider and the potential for renewable energy generation, such as solar panels.
        • The building will require heating and we will install energy efficient heating units.
        • We will use our purchasing power wisely so as to minimise food waste, and we will sell a range of portion sizes of fresh food to help customers to reduce their wastage as well.
        • By sourcing a large percentage of goods from within 30 miles of the shop we will reduce food miles, and by providing the goods that local residents want we will reduce car usage and pollution.
        • We will reduce, re-use and recycle packaging, and we will provide collection points for recycling batteries and fluorescent light bulbs.
        • We will have a top permeable layer for the parking area.
        • We will promote our environmental policy and the measures we take to implement it so as to help customers see how they can make savings and reduce their own environmental impacts.

Your Shop: Benefits

The village shop will sell quality goods and services, which will meet the whole range of shopping needs and interests of parish residents and adjacent parishes, as well as visitors to the local area. There will be an emphasis on supplying good quality, fresh local produce at a fair price in distinction to the surrounding supermarkets.

We also hope that the Much Marcle Community Shop will have a host of other beneficial impacts for the community, including:

  • reducing the need to use cars and travel 11 miles or more to buy essential provisions, thus saving on fuel costs, pollution and time
  • promoting the sale of locally produced fruit, vegetables and home-made produce, thus reducing food miles and supporting local businesses and producers
  • reducing social isolation by providing, both in the café and the shop itself, a friendly social hub, where people can meet neighbours and make new friends
  • providing easily accessible Post Office services, including access to cash
  • providing free car and bicycle parking for the shop, if needed
  • encouraging people to take daily exercise in their walk to the shop
  • providing a drop-in centre for Citizens Advice, as well as church welfare services
  • creating at least one new full-time and potentially later another part-time job opportunity in the area
  • providing opportunities for volunteering, helping to build networks of friends and contacts
  • providing work experience for students from local schools and local youth organisations e.g. Duke of Edinburgh Award
  • encouraging local enterprise and supporting charitable causes through the provision of a bookable “pop-up shop” within the shop
  • supporting the village school by offering the “pop-up shop” area as an outlet for their young enterprise activities and by stocking recommended school equipment
  • supporting residents without transport, by giving them access to affordable essentials without the need for car travel or lengthy infrequent bus services
  • reducing anxiety about availability of essentials during a crisis like the Coronavirus pandemic
  • improving house price values by reinstating an important community asset
  • supporting village events, such as the Big Apple, Steam Rally, Large Model Airshow, Hellens Music and Garden Festivals through merchandise which meets the needs of the different groups attending these events
  • Providing other useful services for residents such as dry cleaning, photocopying, a local advertisements board, a water stop for dog walkers and hot drinks stop for people

Get Involved & Have your Say

If you have feedback, thoughts or ideas to share, or would like to be actively involved in the project, we would love to hear from you. Get in touch with us here.

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