Presentations From the Share Launch 27th March - Help Open Our Shop by Christmas!

See the Presentation given at the Community Share Launch Event

And the Second Presentation:

Download Your Share Application Here

Outline of talk by Robin McCulloch - Joint Chair

Introduction – Robin McCulloch

Welcome and thank you for coming out tonight.

We are here tonight to discuss how to raise the remaining funds needed to build and open our community shop and café.  It’s been a very long time since we first began working toward this and at times it seemed it would never happen.  Indeed we could be accused of having been over optimistic in the past.  But we have made so much progress recently, with our new design, with an infusion of donations and pledges, with the support of our advisors under the Big Potential programme, that its no longer about whether it will happen, but when.  And with your participation, this can be by Christmas.

For those of you who don’t know me, I am Robin McCulloch, Co-chair of BCSL together with my husband Michael.  We have been doing this for about 3 years now.

I am reminded of the first time I visited a real community shop.  I walked in and stood for a few minutes, taking in the light and airyness, the modern look and feel and wondered just what made the difference between this community shop and any other village shop.  Then from the counter I heard a woman call out “Joe, so glad you are here today.  Carol baked that chocolate cake you like and I was hoping you would be in to buy a piece.”  And I thought, ok, that is different.

Later when we were speaking with the manager I noticed a middle-aged woman come in.  A volunteer sat her down, gave her a cup of tea, chatted for a few minutes, went away and came back with a bag of goods.  The manager explained, the woman is losing her sight.  She comes in every day or so for the few things she needs, we pick them from the shelves and charge them to her account. 

And I thought, this is what we want and need in Bledington.  And I am not the only one, a busy mum commented on her survey “I cannot wait!”

It’s been 12 years since our old village shop closed and many people have worked very hard since then to get a new community shop established.  Many of the activities and people involved are well known to you – the huge amounts raised by selling teas at Chastleton and the number of people who have contributed to that; the many fundraising events we have held over the years and the many people who have made those successful. 

But you may not be aware of the people who have done things less noticeably – like the 7 of our neighbours who have made significant donations.  Or Amanda Rees who designed our logo and put together brand guidelines.  Or Chris Kubale who designed our delightful building and Mike Logue who has kept the costings incredibly low – both have given hours and hours of their time all voluntarily.  Or Heather Pearson who spent years keeping close to the planners so that our ideas would be accepted.   Some villages would have given up by now, but not Bledington, it is our collective energy and determination which has got us to where we are today.

I would like to mention our advisors, who are here tonight and who have helped us so much in recent months.  Donna Smith, from the Plunkett Foundation, the experts supporting Community Shops across the UK, and indeed, internationally.  Chris Buckham from the Bretforton shop, who has a huge amount of experience with the financial planning involved in community shops and who was instrumental in helping us revise our Business Plan.  Tim Allen and Nicky Schlatter, from Ilmington shop – you will hear from Tim in a few minutes – who are advising on management, volunteers, policies and procedures.  We are arranging a visit to Ilmington shop, Sophie Pringle and Christine Allen visited and thought it was fascinating to see what could be done - see Penelope Leather if you are interested in coming along.

We all know of the benefits of having a community shop in our village, that’s why we are all here tonight.  We look forward to having a place to pop in and see a friendly face; to ensuring those who don’t drive or who are without a car to be able to buy essentials easily; somewhere the children can learn about spending money; being able to get that simple ingredient we’ve just ran out of; where working people can have their internet packages delivered; and, of course, where we can come in for a coffee and a chat . 

But thinking about all the people who have worked so hard to get us to where we are today reminds me of the other aspect of the community shop – a place to give your time and use your skills and have a really nice time doing it.  Whether it is selling goods or tidying shelves, making sandwiches or serving coffee, helping deliver to homebound people or sitting on a consumer panel.  Or perhaps you are a teenager completing the DofE or an older person looking to gain work experience and confidence before going for a job interview, there will be a host of opportunities in the community shop.  I am reminded of the woman who had recently lost her husband who said “help me get back some structure to my day, give me something to get dressed for.” 

As you probably know Michael and I have given much of our time to this project.  But we have also given our money.  And that is what tonight is about, gathering the money we need to continue.  In a few minutes Michael will explain the share offer itself, then Matt Hall will talk about the potential tax benefits, and we’ll have time for questions before Ben Ball sums it all up. 

But first we have a very short video to show you about what community shops have brought to other villages.  Then we’ve asked Tim Allen from Ilmington to speak.  Ilmington is a similar village to Bledington, although slightly larger.  They have been through all this and have succeeded.


Outline of the talk by Michael McCullloch, Joint chair:

BCSL Community Share Offer: Launch Event on 27 March 2018

Presentation by Michael McCulloch, Co-Chair BCSL

Your Management Committee were described by one of our external assessors as “…a hard-working team who have stuck to it over the years…”

There have been times when it felt more like we were glued to it, but here we are, with a serious achievement to celebrate and a promising share offer to explain and discuss this evening.

Where are we now?                                 

  • I will show you key numbers, some you may not have seen before
  • Have come a long way. Helped by several large individual donations, but no public funds, you have raised £193,000
  • We invested £44,000 on land, planning permission, foundations
  • We have £149,000 in the bank or pledged
  • We aim to raise at least £50,000 through the Share Offer
  • Plan to fill the remaining gap from a range of other sources
  • We can open by Christmas if the Share Offer succeeds


Why do a Community Share Offer?      

  • Unique type of fundraising only societies like ours can use
  • We want to launch the shop and café without debt     
  • It’s well suited to the community, gives everyone equal say and stake
  • Access to expertise through Plunkett Foundation and Big Potential grant
  • AND the attraction of valuable tax incentives through Government’s Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS)


Key features of our Share Offer            

  • I can only summarise here—so READ THE PROSPECTUS!
  • You buy what are called withdrawable shares.  They are different from traditional shares in stock market
  • You can withdraw your shares only in certain tightly defined circumstances—spelled out in Prospectus—and always at discretion of Management Committee
  • You will receive no financial dividends or interest (though Rules do allow the latter)
  • This is an investment in our community—especially for the less mobile, our older residents, people living alone, mothers with young children, growing number of homeworkers…
  • However, as members of this community we’ll all share in the benefits, which if you need reminding are summarised at page 4 of Prospectus
  • So your return for this investment is our future well-being and, I believe, our property values
  • You can be reassured that our Share Offer meets national standards of good practice—it was awarded the Community Shares Standard Mark




  • Offer open from today to 6pm Sunday 6 May—but don’t delay!
  • Minimum investment per person £10, maximum £12,000
  • You must be age 16 or over         
  • Application form at back of Prospectus, with 10 Important Points to consider before investing


Tax incentive                      

  • Unique to Community Share Offer, in contrast to the initial 2012 membership offer
  • Advance assurance from HMRC that Offer meets requirements of SEIS
  • Once we have traded for 4 months, you would be eligible to claim 50% tax relief on share purchase, so long as you pay enough tax to cover it
  • Important conditions that you can read in Prospectus
  • Effect is that if you invest £100 you could claim back £50, invest £1000 and you could claim back £500, and so on (sky’s not quite the limit!)
  • Matt Hall will talk in more detail about Scheme


What makes our shop/café viable, a good proposition to invest in?

  • As a community enterprise, our community shop will not be anything like the old Bledington shop some of you can remember, and others may have heard about
  • No outside owner—private individual or large company—in it for profit
  • Management Committee from your community, whose members share your concerns and aspirations, and are here to serve you
  • Remember that we will own our land and building, pay no mortgage or rent, or business rates—that means low overheads
  • Share Offer underpinned by a completely new Business Plan; both have gone through a rigorous process
  • Sound business model, prepared with expert help of advisers and Plunkett Foundation, draws on experience of other successful community shops
  • Business Plan sets out detailed trading and financial information, and explains how our forecasts were built up line by line
  • Multiple independent external reviews:  early stage assessment by Plunkett and Big Potential Programme, scrutiny for Community Shares Mark, examined by HMRC to qualify for SEIS
  • Have stress tested forecasts especially against risk of significantly lower trading performance
  • This and other risks, and how we would mitigate them, are detailed in section 10 of Business Plan
  • Community shops flourish: 95% long term success rate, while less than half small businesses succeed
  • With community support, as seen in 2018 Survey, yes, we can be a success
  • Your Management Committee have raised the same questions as you, and where have been challenged along the way have worked hard to address issues.  The Committee commends the Share Offer to you.  Speaking personally, I am backing it.


Think about this: £193K already raised says people are behind this project.  With this Share Offer—and its attractive tax benefit—we now have a way to push our shop and café across the starting line!


Now let’s look forward to what happens once we have the money!

  • It gets really exciting! Things start to happen—fast!
  • We start building (detailed budgets done, quotes under way)
  • We all know there’s more to a successful shop than the right building
  • First and foremost finding the people: a qualified and enterprising manager; an enthusiastic and trained volunteer team
  • Choosing suppliers, especially local ones; our systems and procedures
  • The interior layout and fit out: some ideas shown in Prospectus
  • We have an action plan and programme ready, many resources to help
  • You will have many opportunities to get involved and influence how our shop and café evolve!


To get there we need your support of the Share Offer

  • Already have commitments to invest of £6,000
  • Over next 6 weeks need to raise remaining £44-69,000
  • The offer is open for just 6 weeks. The sooner we know how much is invested the sooner we can start building   
  • Some will help with a large investment, some with a much smaller one
  • What is really important is that we all invest
  • After all, the person investing £10 has as much stake in the shop and its benefits as the one investing £1000 or £10,000
  • Remember too that if you are a taxpayer, the SEIS opens the way to getting the government to chip in half of whatever you invest
  • Not often we can directly influence how government spends our taxes
  • Tonight and over next 6 weeks you can do just that—so let’s do it, and enjoy the feeling!         
  • If you would like more information, or to talk about the Offer:
  • Q and A now
  • Several clinics around the village on dates publicised on poster here and in April Newsletter
  • Contact Robin, Ben Woodward or myself by phone or email


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