Church buildings may often be the only community space in a village or a deprived urban area and can provide the perfect location for a community-owned shop. The building can provide not only the space but also the volunteer support and enthusiasm needed for serving the community in this way.
There are currently over 245 community shops in England, Scotland and Wales and each year 20 or more open for business. Some of these are finding premises within churches and chapels.
The Cathedral and Church Buildings Division and the National Rural Officers for the Church of England, the Methodist Church and the United Reformed Church have been worked closely with the Plunkett Foundation to produce Community Shops Guidance specifically for churches and chapels who are interested in hosting such services in order to provide a service particularly in isolated rural communities. clcik the link to find out more.
Further information and support on how to set up a Community Shop and all the practical issues around management is available from the Plunkett Foundation. The Plunkett Foundation is a leading national charity supporting rural communities who want to tackle a problem through community enterprise and ownership. They also have a funding stream called the Village CORE Programme. Supported by the Plunkett Foundation and the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, the programme currently supports 20 new start-up community owned shops a year; each shop receives up to £40K of grant and loan funding plus specialist advisory support. For more information visit The Plunkett Foundation's website.
Your Rural Community Action Network (RCAN) may also be able to give you support and guidance specifically on funding sources. You can visit the website for Action with Rural Communities (ACRE) which lists all 37 RCANs contacts. Or you can go direct to: http://www.acre.org.uk/about-rcan