In June 2010, Farmborough lost its last remaining village shop.
A year later an open meeting was held in the Pavilion on the Recreation Ground to talk about the possibility of opening a community shop. A working party was formed to look at the success of other local community run shops around the area, and in September 2011 a questionnaire was circulated to the 480 households in the village to see if the majority of people were interested in the idea of opening a community shop.
The response was really positive with an unmistakable show of support for a new venture. Many residents offered to help, either through the provision of skills they possess, offering finance, or simply offering time to help complete the more demanding tasks.
In February 2012, at an open meeting held in the village hall, a Community Shop Management Committee was formally elected with the aim of establishing a ‘Community Shop for Farmborough’. The committee are all volunteers; they have a variety of skills and experience, but most importantly enthusiasm and commitment to drive the project forward.
Farmborough Community Shop today!
After 6 years of planning and fundraising, Farmborough Community Shop Ltd opened its doors for the first time on Saturday 30 June 2018.
The shop is a community-owned business, trading for community benefit, and is owned by members of the village and beyond. Anyone aged 18 or over can become a member by buying shares with a minimum investment of £10. All members have an equal say in how the business is run, regardless of their level of investment.
Community-owned shops of this type are opening across the UK and are proving a resilient form of business. Over 350 are currently open and only 15 are known to have closed, which gives a survival rate of 95%. This compares extremely positively with estimations for UK small business nationally, which have a five-year survival rate of 41% – from the Plunkett Foundation’s publication, ‘A better form of business 2017 – Community Shops’.
Community shops of this type succeed for a number of reasons. Most importantly they are owned by the community, so they engage the community and stimulate social activity and community cohesion. Because the community has a shared ownership of the shop they are more likely to shop there, which gives a stronger sales base than privately owned village shops. In addition, they tend to have lower overheads as they are often staffed by volunteers and they do not have to provide a living for their owners.
Farmborough Community Shop Ltd is a Registered Society (formerly an Industrial and Provident Society or IPS) for the Benefit of the Community (the Society) with a constitution developed by the Plunkett Foundation for use by community shops. The Plunkett Foundation is a charitable organisation whose purpose is to support and encourage community shops in the UK. Their model has been used successfully by many other community shops in the UK. You can download a copy of the Society’s rules and registration confirmation:
Farmborough Community Shop Ltd is run by a Management Committee elected annually at an AGM. All members are eligible to vote for the Management Committee, and any member may put themselves forward for election to the Management Committee. The first Management Committee was formed in January 2012. The currently elected committee are:
Mark Swabey (Chair)
Phil Gray (Treasurer)
Sam Ross (Secretary)