POTTERHANWORTH COMMUNITY PROJECT GROUP (PCPG)
COMMUNITY SHOP AND COFFEE SHOP BUSINESS PLAN
1. Executive Summary
The PCPG is a voluntary group of 75 members and 94 other supporters. Its aim is to implement projects in support of the local community and, ultimately, to provide a Community Centre enabling a wide range of activities.
In the shorter term, this PCPG project aims to meet the wishes of the Potterhanworth community as identified in a recent questionnaire by providing a community Coffee Shop. The only premises immediately available are the village church. This will be used in the short term to capitalise on the current enthusiasm for the project and provide useful experience for future projects. The longer-term aim of the PCPG remains the provision of a Community Centre.
The Coffee Shop aims to provide a range of food, refreshments and other services in line with the wishes of the local community. It is managed and staffed by volunteers and provide a unique facility for the community. It also contributes to cohesion and voluntary involvement within the village. The Bluebells Café opened on 21 October. Staffed by volunteers, it opens three days each week from 9am to 5pm.
A PCPG Implementation Team has been established which has produced a detailed financial report, including running costs; trading costs and profit forecasts for the next two years. This forecasts that the business will be turning over £12,000 with a net profit of £4,000 in the first year, and a turnover of £15,000 and a net profit of £6,000 in the second year.
2. Mission Statement
This project aims, in the short term, to sustain a Coffee Shop to meet the needs of the local community. Its temporary location will be the village church. Its profits will be used for building a Community Shop and Café in the centre of the village on land provided rent-free by a local farmer. The longer-term aim remains the provision of a Community Centre, providing a wide range of facilities.
In the 2011 census, the parish of Potterhanworth had a population of 839. 28% of residents were under 19 years old; 9% were aged 20–30; 41% were 31–59 and 22% were over 60. The village has a public house; a pavilion and playing fields, and a church. A Christ’s Hospital Foundation Memorial Hall is used mainly by the village primary school. There is no shop, café or Post Office. The local public transport is limited. There is no social hub, such as a village hall or community centre, to draw together a broad cross-section of the community.
4. Support for Community Shop and Coffee Shop
In May 2014, following a series of public meetings, the PCPG circulated a questionnaire to ascertain what facilities villagers would like to see provided in the community. It was completed by households representing 67% of all residents. Of the over-19 age groups, 205 indicated they would like and use a Community Shop, Coffee Shop and Post Office.
An Implementation Team was established to take this project forward. The following information summarises all the findings and work undertaken to produce this business plan and the detailed financial forecasts. Details of the Team are at Annex A (currently available from the PCPG).
5. Objectives of the Project
(a) To demonstrate that the project is financially viable as shown below:
Year 1 Year 2
Turnover: £12,000 £15,000
Net profit: £4,000 £6,000
(b) To support the local economy by providing an outlet for local producers, craftspeople and artisans.
(c) To encourage the purchase of local goods.
(d) To develop a regular, loyal and profitable customer base by providing a competitive retail option and a flexible response to customer needs.
(e) To promote a welcoming, friendly and helpful atmosphere, thereby encouraging a central meeting point for all villagers.
(f) To provide services in response to community suggestions, e.g. Point of Delivery and Collection; postal services; dry-cleaning collection; ‘take-away’ refreshments; book exchange etc.
(g) To be a facility owned by the local community for the benefit of the local community.
6. Market research and analysis
We have undertaken a Strengths; Weaknesses; Opportunities; Threats (SWOT) analysis (Annex B). The findings have been incorporated into our business plan. Details of the potential market and stock requirements will be based on the questionnaire findings and village demographics. For example, the number of elderly people who are unable or unwilling to drive and would welcome a delivery service or transport to the Community Shop and Coffee Shop; the daily arrival and departure of parents and children at the local school; mothers and toddlers; those for whom public transport is not convenient; visitors and workmen; nearby villagers etc. Further market research will be undertaken if necessary.
7. Research evidence and professional advice
A wealth of very helpful guidance and information has been available from such sources as the Plunkett Foundation; DEFRA; Oxfordshire Rural Communities Council; other community shops and enterprises and the North Kesteven District Council. Their extensive advice is summarised as follows:
(a) 97% of community enterprises are successful.
(b) This success hinges on voluntary support; meeting the villagers’ needs accurately and providing a meeting place for the whole cross-section of the community.
Banking will be provided as follows:
Banking: TSB, High Street, Lincoln
8. Implementation and Management
The PCPG Implementation Team will be responsible for all aspects of implementing and managing the project. Full details, including individual responsibilities, are available from the PCPG.
The PCPG aims to buy or rent suitable premises for a Community Centre in the longer term. This is not possible immediately. As a temporary measure, the local church is providing premises for a café. The next step is the building of a Community Shop and Café on land provided rent-free by a local farmer.
The list of Health and Safety regulations requiring compliance is at Annex C.
Building and Contents and Public Liability insurance is in place.
10. Services offered
The key factors for the project’s success include its ability to respond flexibly to customers’ wishes; voluntary staff; friendly and efficient service, and providing a focus and meeting place for all members of the community.
a. Shop (once premises available)
(i) Range of Produce (to be confirmed by community-wide questionnaire)
Sourced from local producers reflecting villagers’ needs
Local vegetables in season, including surplus from local gardens
Home-made foods from villagers
Local cards, calendars, maps
(ii) Essential stock – primarily convenience shopping
Bread and other bakery products
Fresh milk and dairy products
Tinned and packet foods
(iii) Other possible services
Communal ‘Click-and-Collect’ service
Mobile Post Office
Swap-shop for books, DVDs, computer games etc.
RV for visiting mobile shops
b. Coffee Shop
High-quality teas and coffees.
Home-made cakes, biscuits and sandwiches
11. Opening hours and Staffing
Opening hours will depend on the volunteers available; the community’s shopping preferences and the availability of the church. Statutory and other relevant training will be provided. If feasible, work experience and other training opportunities could be offered locally.
12. Finance and Funding
The project will be funded by a combination of fund-raising activities; donations from villagers and grants from such organisations as The Parish Council; the North Kesteven District Council; the Plunkett Foundation and DEFRA. Full details of the funding required are at Annex D.
13. Marketing Plan
We will continue to hold open meetings to raise awareness of the project; provide updates for the parish newsletter, Grape Vine, and the local free paper, The Sheepwash Times, and encourage support at our funding efforts such as quiz nights and the Autumn Festival.
(a) Marketing Objectives and Goals
(i) To make the Coffee Shop and subsequently the Community Shop a viable business and meeting place for the whole community.
(ii) To raise awareness of the benefits of such a project in terms of social cohesion; returning profits to the community and meeting the needs of the villagers.
(iii) To operate in a transparent, sympathetic and cohesive way and to welcome feedback.
(iv) To effectively communicate to the local community and funding providers our progress, plans and initiatives.
(v) To encourage support for the PCPG’s longer-term aim to provide a Community Centre.
b. Market Analysis
There will be a cross-section of villagers who use the Community Shop and Coffee Shop regularly, often, seldom and never. We cannot compete directly with supermarkets on item price, range of goods and opening hours. However, we can compete on convenience, travel costs, local produce, friendly and efficient service, community-based management and providing somewhere to meet.
c. Marketing the Community Shop and Coffee Shop
It is essential to keep the community informed and engaged with the project throughout. Regular updates will be provided through our website, Facebook, fund-raising events, public meetings, PCPG presence at village events, local media, community fliers etc.
14. The Future
The Coffee Shop, located temporarily in the church provides something requested by the villagers; a unique social focus for the community; valuable experience for the participants and enhances the credibility of the PCPG locally. However, the location is an interim expedient. The next step is the building of a Community Shop and Coffee Shop. Our long-term aim remains the establishment of a Community Centre, providing a suitable venue for a wide range of activities, and serving the local community as a whole.
(This is available from the PCPG.)
Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT) Analysis
No shop, Post Office or coffee shop in village
Project supported by majority of local community
Large pool of volunteers
Can flexibly respond to local needs
Financial support available
Public transport to competitors limited
Unique and flexible service geared to needs of local community
Potential to expand the business
Opportunity to provide additional services as required
Improvement of village facilities
Opportunity to provide focus and social interaction for whole local community
Possible home delivery service
Outlet for local produce
Gain experience and funding for further projects
No existing premises, site or business to take over
Volunteer staffing requires careful coordination and sustained commitment
Target market small and currently shopping elsewhere
Initially store will be small with limited options to quickly expand range of goods
Some members of the community may not be supportive
Supermarkets’ competition: range of goods; prices; delivery services
Potential misunderstanding that PCPG is part of Church group
Misgivings that such projects have failed before
Mobile shops’ competition
Health and Safety Requirements
Health and Safety training
Prevention of slips, trips and falls
Control of any hazardous substances
Pest control (church mice?)
Noise at work
Two types of fire extinguisher
Food hygiene and food safety
Reporting of injuries or accidents