Newnham on Severn Community Benefit Society (NoSCBS) began life when we formed a pressure group known as ‘ReNewnham’ in response to the closure of the George Café in the centre of the village. The George had been owned and run for some years by Camphill Village Trust (CVT), a charity with a nationwide network of residential communities for adults with special needs, including two, The Grange and Oaklands, on the outskirts of Newnham.
We were concerned about the growing number of empty shops in the High Street and the steady decline in local services. When CVT announced its intention to close the George Café, we campaigned successfully for the property to be placed on the District Council register as an Asset of Community Value and began to explore the possibility of a community purchase.
The Business Proposal
Having spent the last few months developing our plans, we believe that with the right mix of uses, effective marketing and well-chosen staff, The George has the potential to be a highly successful and sustainable community business.
Our proposals are based on a full programme of public consultation including a household survey, two public meetings and extensive individual discussions with local traders, community groups and other bodies both in and outside the village.
The plans include:
- An all-day café and bakery
- Gallery and venue for music and live events
- A small business hub offering flexible short-term workspaces for small businesses and start-ups
- A permanent home for the village Post Office
- A retail space for cards, gifts, newspapers, magazines, stationery and other items
- Meeting and function rooms for hire by local groups.
The café, bakery, shop and Post Office will all be run by paid staff, supported by trainees and young people on work experience and where necessary by volunteers. An elected Management Committee will appoint staff, manage budgets and ensure that the services we offer meet the needs of Newnham residents and the wider community.
Can you help?
If you would like to support us by buying community shares, volunteering, or offering to share your skills, please contact the secretary, Paul Manning (01594) 516259, firstname.lastname@example.org, or our chair Siobhan Smith (01594) 516287, email@example.com. We are particularly glad to hear from people with business or financial experience who may be willing to serve on the Management Committee.