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Over £1 million lent to community-owned shops

Co-operative & Community Finance has now loaned over £1 million to support over 60 community-owned shops throughout the UK in the past two years.  The milestone was reached with a loan to Gaydon Village Store in Oxfordshire.
For the last 20 years, residents of Gaydon village had to travel over six miles to do their shopping.  At a public meeting in February 2008, over 85% of villagers voted in favour of setting up a community-owned shop.  They formed a management committee of 10 and applied for loans and funding to support their venture.  The co-operative will be using the loan from Co-operative & Community Finance to help employ a part-time manager for the shop which has been run entirely by volunteers since it opened in May. 
Claire Hamm, chairman of the store, says, “The employment of a manager will relieve some of the pressure on the busy people from the local community.  The manager will be responsible for stock control and waste management among other things.  We hope to increase the amount of locally sourced produce we stock.”
Co-operative & Community Finance works exclusively with social enterprises and co-operatives.  One of the projects it is involved in is the Village CORE Programme which supports community-owned shops in rural areas. 
“The advice and support we received from Co-operative & Community Finance and the Village CORE Programme was very helpful”, Claire continues.  “We chose the community co-operative model because it had been successfully used by many other village shops.  There seemed no point in reinventing a very effective wheel.”
Ian Rothwell, from Co-operative & Community Finance, says, “The Village CORE programme has proved to be tremendously successful.  It has been great working with village communities and seeing the energy and enthusiasm they have generated to create a successful enterprise.”      
For more information about Gaydon Village Store please visit

Co-operative & Community Finance, formerly known as ICOF, has been providing loan finance for co-operatives, employee owned businesses and social enterprises since it was established in 1973.   It raises the money to do so primarily by public share issue.
Co-operative & Community Finance is regulated by the Financial Services Authority in the conduct of investment business.
The head office of Co-operative & Community Finance is situated at Brunswick Court, Brunswick Square, Bristol BS2 8PE, (T) 01179 166750,
(F) 01179 166751, email:
Co-operative & Community Finance is the trading name of Industrial Common Ownership Finance Limited, Company No. 1109141, registered in England & Wales.
The Village CORE Programme is a support programme which started in 2006 that provides financial start-up packages and advisory support to communities looking to set up a community-owned rural shop.  The programme is managed by the Plunkett Foundation in partnership with the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and Co-operative and Community Finance and supported by the LankellyChase Foundation.
Source: Alpha Communications 

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