Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 17 April 2014

Community appeal saves bookshop

A second-hand bookshop in Somerset has been saved after almost 300 people invested money to form a community co-operative

A second-hand bookshop has secured a new chapter in its life after a local community helped to raise thousands of pounds to save it from closure.

The store, in Clevedon, North Somerset, will reopen on New Year's Eve after an appeal for help led to almost 300 people investing money to become "co-owners" of a community bookshop co-operative, which was given advice by The Co-operative Group's enterprise arm.

The shop had been open for 14 years but was facing closure after the owner announced his retirement.

Volunteers and members of the new co-operative have spent the past few weeks painting and decorating the shop before the opening.

Angela Everitt, secretary of the new co-operative, said: "We've have been overwhelmed by the support that we have received. Our aim was to attract a large number of investors who, as co-owners, will have a say in how the enterprise is run.

"People have invested from just £10 to raise a total of £7,500 which, coupled with loan money and grants, has enabled the community to save this store. Members and volunteers have worked hard to refurbish the store, new flooring has gone down and the final task will be to stock our great new bookcases.

"We hope that members and customers alike will join us on New Year's Eve and, this also gives any last-minute investors a chance to drop off their applications."

Michael Fairclough, the Co-operative Group's head of community and co-operative investment, said: "This is another example of a determined community having a say in the running of a business or service important to them and illustrates how communities, by embracing the co-operative model, can support the economy for future generations and tackle some of the unprecedented challenges facing our society and the environment.

"The co-operative business model offers an alternative and robust approach to enterprise that is contributing to the rebuilding of a more balanced and stable economy.

"As the general public becomes increasingly concerned for environment, accountability and sustainability and, more and more people rediscover the benefits of self-help and mutual ownership, we will see co-operatives playing an increasing part in fostering the creation and growth of future enterprises."