We held a public meeting to agree to form an Association and take over the village shop as a community enterprise in November 2006. This gave us only six weeks to set up the Woodgreen Community Shop Association, raise funds, get staff in place for both the shop and Post Office and form a steering group from which the Management Committee and sub-committees would be elected. We had achieved most of this in six weeks, raising £16,000 from shares and donations, and getting everything in place except in the Post Office.
We were dependent on the PO for their training timetable, and Christmas/New Year was not the best time to be doing this. In the event the incumbent Postmaster was happy to support us by staying on for a month while we got everything in place.
I think six weeks was something of a record for setting up an Association, thanks to the help we got from ViRSA (now the Plunkett Foundation). Then we were all on a very steep learning curve!!
We didn’t know how well the business would do, but decided to run the shop with paid staff rather than volunteers (except on a Saturday afternoon when it was difficult to get regular paid staff). The paid staff however required a volunteer support team which was put in place.
Fortunately three people who had owned and run the business stayed involved, two as employees, one as a volunteer shop Treasurer, and have been a great help in guiding and advising us. Here are some of our hardworking, friendly and altogether wonderful Staff.