Morebattle Village Shop - Proposal For Community Ownership
The Steering Committee established at the beginning of the year to try to secure the future of the shop has been hard at work since our last village meeting in August.
We are now receiving support from the Plunkett Foundation, and are intending to make a Stage 1 application to the Scottish Land Fund for the preparation of a full business plan. The results and any proposals arising will be presented to the community in due course. This could then form the basis of a Stage 2 application to Scottish Land Fund (SLF) for a grant to purchase the premises (estimated cost of £135,000 including the flat above the shop).
We would do this by establishing a Community Benefit Society (CBS) as the legal body for community ownership. This is a model that has been used successfully to secure shops for communities elsewhere in Scotland.* The CBS would have legal liability status, and would be registered with the Financial Conduct Authority under the Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies Act 2014. Most importantly it would be able to issue shares to community members and others (on the basis of one member one vote however many shares are purchased).
This is important because we will have a lot of costs over and above the purchase price of the premises, including refurbishment (estimated at £25,000), value of the stock, and goodwill of the business - plus some working capital. What's more, we may not get SLF funding, so there is that to bear in mind as well if we still want to go ahead.
So for this to work we would need as much support from the committee as we can get. We hope that with the help of the community - and others who may be interested in investing in such a community enterprise - we can generate sufficient capital to meet all costs.
Although full terms and conditions have not yet been worked out, the working model (based on similar co-operative set-ups) would be as follows:
- Shares would have a nominal value of £25, SLF will not permit a value of more than £25 per share, and every member would hold no less than 1 share and no more than 15 per cent of the total number of shares.
- Each shareholder would be entitled to be nominated and vote for the election of members to the Committee at the Annual General Meeting.
- Each shareholder would have one vote irrespective of the number of shares held.
- Interest can be paid on the shares if the surplus (profit) from trading allows.
- Social Investment Tax Relief of 30% may be available on the value of shares purchased.
- At the discretion of the Committee, share capital may be withdrawn after three years upon giving due notice, provided that sufficient funds are available.
There is no requirement for any cash or binding commitment at present. All that is being requested is an expression of interest to enable us to assess how much funding can be generated in this way. If you are able to help bring this much needed community facility into being, then please download and complete the attached form and return it to one of the addresses indicated there.