Bledington Community Shop Limited
Minutes of the Sixth Annual General Meeting
Bledington Village Hall: 10.00 am on Saturday 14 October 2017
Committee Members present: Michael and Robin McCulloch (Co-chairpersons), Ben Woodward, Ben Ball, Andrew Packe, Rebecca Allen, Sigi Lang
Apologies: Penelope Leather, Heather Pearson, Vicky Algar, Jennifer Steel.
BCSL Members and Visitors: Angela and Michael Lear, Johnny Leaman, Sheila Truslove, Gillian Truslove, Una and Alan Tait, Dee Hendry, Christopher and Justine Evans, Rollo and Margaret Bruce, Pat Jenkin, Avril Collis, Louise Jackson, Sue MacConnal-Mason, Mal Huff, Sophie Pringle, Louise Angus
Co-chairman’s Report: After welcoming everyone and approving last year’s minutes, Michael McCulloch gave his report for the year. The main achievement for the year was the completion of an alternative shop design, which was well received at the presentation on 17 June. The benefits of the new design include a much lower cost and the ability to use local construction while delivering the same services as planned. He thanked the Building Group for their hard work, especially Chris Kubale and Mike Logue. The revised design has just been approved by Cotswold District Council and Michael thanked Heather Pearson for her work on this.
Events during the past year - the Hootenanny, Chastleton teas and the 25x£100 Challenge – together with a donation by the Susannah Peake CharitableTrust means that our funds in hand are now £80,000. In addition Michael was very pleased to report that four villagers have come forward offering substantial pledges. This brings our available funds to £120,000! We are now more than halfway to what we need for the build and site work. We are closing the gap!
At the end of August, we were awarded a grant of almost £30,000 from The Big Potential, a Lottery-funded programme, to strengthen our capacity to attract finance and prepare for operating a shop. We will be working closely with the Plunkett Foundation and Ilmington and Bretforton community shops. Louise Jackson has been employed as a part-time Development Coordinator. The key actions are to: revise our business plan, which is still viable but needs to be updated; investigate investment options, mainly a second community share offer; become more actively engaged with the Village – the shop won’t succeed without active involvement by the village; prepare BCSL for trading. Michael recommended that everyone visit the Bretforton and Ilmington community shops.
Michael then reminded the meeting that societies such as ours are member-owned. He drew attention to our Impact Statement which outlines the benefits the shop and café will bring. He also mentioned our growing membership – 285 members, of which 35 joined since March this year; an interview with Radio Gloucester which was broadcast in August.
A strong feature of BCSL are the many volunteers who have helped in various ways over the years. Michael expressed his thanks to all the volunteers and drew attention to the long list of people displayed in the room. This includes the volunteer management committee, who meet monthly and offered minutes of these meetings on request.
In conclusion, Michael said “we have come a long way as a community this year. All of us have to work together to make the shop and café happen, to build and open it, and make it a success. We are getting very close to achieving this and are already seeing some of the benefits of being involved - I for one have met so many new people since working on this project. It is up to all members to be the champions among our neighbours.”
Treasurer’s Report: Ben Woodward, our treasurer, started by thanking Michael and Robin McCulloch for working tirelessly. He explained that this year for the first time the accounts of both Bledington Community Shop and Bledington and Foscot Community Association have been subject to independent review and he thanked Jeremy Gould for taking on this task.
BCSL’s income was mainly from Chastleton teas, which raised well over £11,000 in the year to March and another £5,000 since the end of the financial year. Expenditure has been kept very low; one notable item of £200 was for the revision of our planning permission for the revised shop design. The result is that we have £26,403 cash in BCSL. In addition, the land and foundations, which are valued at £43,688, leave BCSL with net assets of £70,091.
Fundraising during the year which went into BaFCA, our associated charity, included the Safari Supper in November and Hootenanny in January, plus receipts of generous pledges from villagers. Since March this year, there has been a £5,000 donation from the Susannah Peake Charitable Trust, a gift aid claim in excess of £3,000 and the 25x£100 fundraiser. With generous help from Jo Radcliffe, BaFCA set up a Justgiving Campaign page which we hope will raise about £20,000. This is being publicised widely and we are asking all members to bring this to the attention of your family and friends, and anyone who has ever asked you for sponsorship.
At present, therefore, we have £49,815 in BaFCA. Which means we have a grand total of £76,218 in cash from both BCSL and BaFCA. Matched funds from the 25x£100 challenge and our first receipt from Justgiving are expected imminently.
The Annual Accounts were adopted, proposed by Louise Jackson and seconded by Angela Lear.
Election: Three committee members, Ben Ball, Andrew Packe and Ben Woodward, were standing down and offering themselves for re-election for a period of 3 years. Re-election, together with the election of Vicky Algar who was co-opted during the year, was proposed by Sophie Pringle and seconded by Alan Tait. Camilla Bowditch who was also co-opted to the Committee, has since resigned due to other commitments.
Co-Chairperson’s Concluding Remarks: Robin McCulloch spoke about how hard the work for the shop had been at times over the past year and sometimes wondering if it was worth all the effort. But then she thought about Bledington and its outstanding primary school, pub of the year, medieval church and the newly renovated village hall and how good it would be to be able to say we also have a thriving community shop and café. And she realised how much she wants this to happen. The gap is closing but we cannot do it alone. To succeed we need the help of all in the village.
The meeting was closed.