Uley Community Stores (UCS) is a vital village resource. With the village shop – and Post Office – in jeopardy in recent years, the residents in 2010 attended a Parish Council meeting and agreed a Steering Committee should be formed to pursue whichever avenues were necessary to retain the shop. The Save our Shop campaign was born.
With the help of Gloucestershire Rural Community Council, the Steering Committee of 17 reviewed the options available and conducted detailed feasibility studies. It became clear that the best option would be to convert the existing shop which was for sale into a community enterprise, owned and run by the village.
‘Uley Community Stores’ was established as an Industrial Provident Society (for the benefit of the community) in May 2012 under Plunkett Model Rules. We are grateful to the Plunkett Foundation for assigning a retail expert and assisting with the transition phase. Download our Rules here.
Without delay, the management committee of seven members, working with a strong support team:
- issued shares to support the transition
- negotiated a 10 year lease on the existing shop from 1 July 2012 with appropriate break clauses and extensions
- marshalled and trained the necessary paid staff and voluntary help
- opened Uley Community Stores on 1 July 2012, thereby achieving its aim of uninterrupted trading.
The management team soon set about refurbishing the store, re-organising its 400 sq ft layout and upgrading furniture and fittings.
The day-to-day running of the store was managed voluntarily by the management committee Operations Manager, Angela Haddrell, initially supported by two paid part-time Post Office personnel. More than 50 volunteers from the village work short shifts in the shop.
During November 2012 the shop was re-fitted and redecorated.
Plans are in place to continue to increase footfall and profitability and extend the range of stock and services to ensure the shop remains the hub and heart of the village.