FIRST, A HUGE THANK YOU….
So many people have lent their support along the way. We intend to commemorate this amazing team of people by creating a founding members’ plaque and also displaying those that have played their part in accomplishing our goal – from volunteers, decorating, to interior design, website, carpentry, planning advice, event organisation, baking and the list goes on… Without them, we wouldn’t have our shop.
The shop’s journey started back in 2016, when Rebecca Fleckney moved to our lovely village and spotted that a shop would be a wonderful asset to sit alongside the already fantastic village pop up cafes, churches, and ever popular Greyhound Pub. This idea was met with huge enthusiasm by many, and very quickly a Management Committee was formed with Rebecca, Simon Crichton (Treasurer & Retail expert) and Deborah Simcock (Vice Chair & Marketing) along with a working party of supportive villagers.
The last shop in Wigginton had shut its doors more than a decade before and is now someone’s home! So there wasn’t an obvious site. Having explored a number of options, it became apparent that our sports field lent itself perfectly, particularly as it was where the Scout Hut once stood.
We and other villagers held a number of fundraising events which raised enough money for us to appoint our solicitor, villager Claire Miller, and architect, Richard Onslow – both charged nominal fees to support our cause – which meant we could start the process of drawing up a lease with the ever supportive Parish Council (who own the sports field) and draw up our plans so that we could seek planning permission for the shop. We also formed a Community Benefits Society, so our shop was official!
The project started to take pace! We expanded our Management Committee to ensure we had the right skills to make it a success – Debbie Meech (appointed Chair), Caroline Burrage (Funding) and Terri Baker (People) – and our working party gathered more members too.
In February we held a Public Exhibition and opened our share offer to raise the funds we needed to be able to build our shop. We were blown away by the support and ended up exceeding our target. We had 179 people buy shares, raising £81,500 which was match funded by Big Society Capital.
We also were awarded a number of grants totalling £36,750 – LEADER, who funded the building structure, and Big Lottery Fund, Dacorum, Shanly Homes, Turpin Trust and Chiltern Society who all contributed to kitting out the kitchen and café.
Trevor Standen, a planning barrister who lives in the village submitted the planning application along with the Planning Statement and pleaded the very special circumstances that enabled the Council to give consent for our shop on the Sports Ground.
With planning permission granted, the tender was awarded to villager Glen Adams, and his business Datum Point Construction. We also appointed the shop’s manager, villager Sally Clarke, who has hit the ground running!
The build started in September, and we opened our doors to the community on 1st December, and held an official opening over our ‘Celebratory Weekend’ 7th – 9th December.