East Boldre Community Stores
Awarded to our project by the Government's Community Ownership Fund
This is a key enabler for our project. Together with the £225,000 raised from our share offer we have raised £600,086 so far.
We will be pushing ahead now with the purchase of the chapel.
Request for Quotations
With planning permission granted on 8th Feb 2023 we are now in the process of selecting our main contractor and other key suppliers (solar, damp treatment, car park, hall demolition).
We would welcome building companies to get in touch via email if they are interested in quoting for the works for an initial discussion.
We can then provide a copy of our specification to formally quote against
To understand the scope of our proposal please view our planning application here.
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A New Opportunity
With all of the other feasible options for our community shop exhausted, when the Baptist chapel came onto the market in August 2022 it offered a one-off opportunity that we had to seize. It actually offers the best solution of all the options considered over the last 5 years.
This locally listed building gets a new community purpose.
It offers spacious premises, very similar in size to the highly successful Woodgreen community shop.
It is centrally located, provides scope for off - road parking and the 'Vestry'offers a flexible community space for shop events, workshops (IT, bike repairs) etc.
The Baptist Union Corporation have indicated that our offer is at an acceptable level. It is now up to us to get the funds in place so we are in a proceedable position. There is a risk that it may be sold to someone else before we complete our fundraising.
The 'Chapel Stores' Project
The chapel, built in 1844, sits on a 1/4 acre site along with a modern 1990’s hall. There are 400 unmarked graves onsite that our plans leave undisturbed.
Since August, we have worked to establish the feasibility of our plans. We'll repair and renovate the chapel, fixing the rising damp, treating woodworm and removing asbestos from the premises.
The main chapel space will be fitted out and equipped as the retail area with the old vestry providing a social space for shop events, workshops and 'home working' . We'll also use this space for a permanent exhibition of the chapel's history and residents' memories of it in its former role.
The leaking kitchen roof will be repaired and it will be fitted out as a food preparation area. The hall will be demolished to make way for a car park that would provide off road parking and turning space. Native trees and hedging will improve the street scene and improve the site's biodivesity. A solar system will halve our electricty costs and rainwater will be collected for toilet flushing.
We have produced a detailed project plan that sets out the activities, costs, funding sources and timescales to achieve this.
We have gathered the team back together and are delighted Alison and David have joined our management committee. Becki has volunteered to help with social media, Sophia with the heritage project and Richard and Lynn are progressing the EPOS system selection. Last but by no means least the great team of 35 Lane Reps are helping to keep the community informed and act as a sounding board for our ideas.
While we are a not-for-profit organisation we need to ensure we are financially viable. If we grow the business we can keep our margins and, therefore, prices lower.
We will provide employment for 2 staff to cover the planned opening hours. They will be supported by a team of volunteers to share the workload and add to the friendly feel of the shop.
By keeping a shop and Post Office in the village, we reduce car journeys across the forest for convenience items, banking and postal services. The larger space will allow us to offer a broader range of goods and services with wide, accessible aisles.
Why It Matters
Our village shop and Post Office provides vital postal services, banking, bill payment, key top-ups as well as groceries. While a convenience for many it is particularly important for the 10% of households with no car given the village's very limited bus service.
During the early days of the pandemic it was the only village amenity that stayed open. As well as innovatively finding ways to keep the shelves stocked, it acted as a rallying point for the community and a hub for volunteers.
Over the years our village school, its two other shops, doctors surgery, youth clubs, a football club and a lunch club have closed leaving the shop as an important focal point in our community.
Now the last shop and its Post Office is under threat of closure as the owner wants to retire from the long hours running the business entails.
Over the last 5 years and we have invested a huge amount of time and energy in pursuing various local options for a site for our shop. This has not been an easy task as our village borders restricted Crown grazing land and local house prices are high.
The chapel presents a last and one-off opportunity for our community shop premises.