From shipping container to vibrant community centre, this is our story…
Kingsbury Shop was just an idea back in 2008. The shop was opened in March 2012 and since then we have had a steady stream of customers, proving that there was a need for a shop in the Parish of Kingsbury Episcopi and surrounding areas
The following is an extract from our first newsletter back in June 2009
“Welcome to this first edition of Let’s Talk Shop, the bi-monthly newsletter of the Kingsbury Community Shop Project. Plans to reopen a shop in the Parish are moving fast and we decided to publish a regular newsletter to keep everyone interested and up to date. The process of establishing a village shop, run entirely by and for the community, is complex and lengthy. However, we are hopeful that we shall see a new shop in Kingsbury in about two years’ time”.
During the next few months we submitted a lengthy application to the Big Lottery to apply for funding for enough money to be able to build a shop in the village. We were selected from thousands of applicants and made it to the final 10. Six enterprises were selected but unfortunately we were unsuccessful.
From the outset we had been fundraising by putting on Plays, Auctions and organising a Treasure Hunt to name but a few. We also applied for funding locally and sold bonds to local residents. Eventually we started to build up a significant amount, but nowhere near the amount we would need to pay for a new building, or purchase an existing one.
By August 2011 we bought a ‘shipping container’ from Frensham in Surrey, that had been used by their village for a temporary shop. This meant a loan was needed as we didn’t quite have enough money. We were offered enough money to buy the container by a local resident, who has now been paid back in full. It was finally delivered by December 2011 and during the next few months the electricity supply, telephone line, water services etc. were completed. The shop came with shelving so we were able to assemble this and then start the process of stocking the shop. We put out a plea for volunteers and this was extremely successful. Sue Boer joined the committee at around this point and she has proved invaluable when deciding on suppliers and the selection of stock the village needed. She managed to get this almost 100% correct, which was proved when the shop finally opened in March 2012. Since then the volunteers have increased and there are now over 50.
We have overcome many hurdles since the shop first opened – power cuts, alarm malfunctions, covering shifts for volunteers on holiday, the painting of the outside of the shop to name but a few. Despite this, the turnover has steadily increased and the shop has never had to close due to lack of volunteers.
In March 2017 the new Shop and Cafe opened in the new Community Centre. A fantastic achievement raising £1.1m (over £800,000 from The Big Lottery). The story continues with a better range and display of products and a developing cafe.