On target for Easter opening

Despite terrible weather the construction of a new community shop in a Sussex village is proceeding to plan.  The residents of Sayers Common, near Brighton, are determined that the first shop they have had in the village since 2001 will be open by Easter.

The busy village hall is being redeveloped to accommodate the new shop that will serve as a convenience store for the 300 households.  A loan from the Co-operative Loan Fund is being used to fit out and stock the shop.

Malcolm Heather, chairman of the shop association, said: “Finding suitable affordable premises could have been a problem so we were delighted when the village hall committee offered us the vestibule.  It’s 28 square metres so we’ll be planning to make the very best use of the limited space.”

The opening of Sayers Common Community Shop will be the culmination of a plan that started with a public meeting in the village hall in January 2011.

Malcolm said: “Throughout the project the most important thing has been to ensure that the local community is right behind the concept.  It’s all been achieved by voluntary effort and we’ve needed a good body of people involved to keep things moving forward.”

After a successful community share issue last November there are now 104 members of the community benefit society that owns the shop.

There are now over 320 community owned shops in the UK.  Many of them have been supported by the Co-operative Loan Fund working in partnership with Co-operative & Community Finance and Plunkett Foundation.

Ian Rothwell of the Co-operative Loan Fund said: “The loan to Sayers Common is the latest example of the Fund’s continuing commitment to democratic community ownership of local facilities.”