Felsham and Gedding Community Store Limited
Church Road, Felsham, Suffolk
The shop and post office at Felsham previously run by Jon and Sue Nicholls has now been taken on by the Community in a new venture funded and run by villagers of Felsham and Gedding. Jo Churchill MP is due to officially open the new venture on Saturday 23 February at 11am.
Last February The Nicholls announced that they would be retiring at the end of 2018 but had been unable to find anyone to take on the business. The post office and shop are a vital part of the community serving both the two villages of Felsham and Gedding and also surrounding villages. A number of local people rely on it for their basic needs.
At a public meeting hosted by the local parish councils there was a clear demand for the community to do something about it. Accordingly a small Committee was formed to consider the options available and with the support of The Plunckett Foundation and The Nicholls, a new venture was born. The shop and post office opened its doors under community ownership on 28th January and trades as a Community Benefit Society, a legal structure intended for just these sorts of circumstances giving everyone in the community an opportunity to have a say in its operations by buying shares for just £10 each. A share offering has been launched and a prospectus issued. inviting the community to subscribe for shares - as few or as many as they are able.
The shop is staffed by unpaid volunteers with the committee of management, all local villagers, carrying out the operational tasks.
“We are delighted that we have been able to get this venture off the ground’’ said Ria Crosbie the Chair of the management committee. “ It is an essential part of the two villages and along with the church , the village hall and the pub, all in touching distance, acts as a hub for village life. If the shop had closed it would have brought a lot of hardship for a lot of people unable to venture further afield for their basic needs.”
“ We intend to enhance what we offer and are aiming to stock locally produced products. A feature already are the cards produced by three or four local artists from the village. We want to encourage as many people as possible to volunteer in the shop. It is a rewarding task. Anyone interested should get in touch either via our website or just pop into the shop.”