Clapham residents back village shop idea

Residents are considering taking over Clapham’s village shop as a community owned venture.

More than 50 parishioners met in the village hall to hear the results of the survey, which expressed the views of 100 residents in Clapham, Newby and Keasden Farmer and parish councillor John Dawson, who chaired the meeting, said its purpose was to consider the results of the survey and decide whether to move to the next stage – which would be a feasibility study to determine whether residents should take over the shop.

Don Gamble, a member of the steering group, gave a breakdown of the results, which showed that more than 95 per cent of respondents supported the idea and around 45 per cent had offered to help prepare and run the outlet.

Fellow steering group member Eddie Leggett, described what the feasibility study would entail and what legal, administrative and financial structures would be used to support the idea.

The meeting heard of the experiences of Burton-in-Lonsdale community shop, which had proved a success, but which required hard work to ensure it stayed financially healthy.

Those at the meeting voted unanimously in favour of moving to a feasibility study, the findings of which would be reported back to a second parish meeting.

It was noted that the village would be eligible for a £2,000 grant to cover the costs of the study from the Esme Fairbairne Foundation.

The current steering group of Don Gamble, Wendy Jennings, Diane Elphinston and Eddie Leggett will be joined by five others with specialist skills.

They are Nick Burton (accountant), Esther Pugh (retail expert), James Innerdale (architect), Denise Wilson (small business development) and Sue Mann (voluntary organisations).

If the village does decide to take over the shop, a new management committee will be elected, marking the start of a democratically run organisation of which all parishioners would be members.

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