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Downderry Community Shop

Please click here to visit the Downderrry Community Shop website for the latest news.

Also visit their Facebook page : click here

If you want to to be receive emails about the Community Shop, please confirm your interest by emailing


News: 28 August 2023

The Steering Group of Downderry Community Shop has set up a scheme to provide for the continuation of daily and weekend newspapers to those who sign up for it. Deliveries will commence on 4th September.
Order and pay in advance for your regular newspapers at Tredinnick Farm Shop, Widegates (coupons accepted) Contact 01503 240992
Collect your newspapers after 9am from The Inn on the Shore, Downderry; 10am on Sundays

The Little Shop at Bewshea's Restaurant is now set up to sell milk, bread, eggs and a range of groceries etc. during restaurant opening time:Monday - Sat 11.00am to late Sunday 12 - 4,00pm

Summink Different will stock the village monthly newsletter Nut Tree

The Post Office Outreach Service  has secured continuity and will operate from St Nicolas Church on their current timetable  from Tuesday 5th Sept    -  every Tuesday and Friday 1.00 - 3.00pm.

Paul Bray Butchers  are offering deliveries to Downderry and surrounding areas on Friday mornings from week beginning 4 Sept. They ask for a  minimum order of £20 withy a £1 delivery charge. Contact Paul Bray  01752 851224.

News: 21 August 2023

You can read the results off the recent Community Shop Survey where over 250 residents responded with their views on what they would want from their local communtiy shop. click here to read the results

News : 12 August 2023

Following the very well-attended community meeting on 17 July 2023, and a successful parish-wide survey, the project to explore the potential for creating a community shop in Downderry has begun.

The community survey, issued to households across Deviock parish, and available online via DaSRA, has already received 239 responses, with virtually unanimous support for setting up a community-run shop.

Survey results summary

The survey asked residents a number of questions to identify appetite and support for creating a community-run shop. Full survey results will be shared here on the website shortly. A summary of early results is as follows:
57% said they would use a community shop at least weekly

14% said they would spend at least £40 per shopping trip, 20% said at least £30 and 50% said at least £20

The most popular products requested include dairy, bakery, fruit and veg, local produce, deli, general groceries and confectionery

Additional shop services proved popular with respondents - 90% said they would use a post office facility and 34% suggested a tea/coffee shop

The survey also highlighted broad support for being involved in the development of a community shop, with 40% interested in buying shares, 45% saying they would make a donation, 25% interested in helping with fundraising and 13% interested in joining a planning group.

The Steering Group

Survey respondents who said they would be interested in joining a planning group were invited to attend a meeting on Monday 31 July 2023 at St Nicolas Church.

At this meeting, chaired by Laura Done, DaSRA, and facilitated by Ann Vandermeulen, Downderry resident and Development Manager for the Federation of Small Businesses, a steering group was established to drive forward the community shop project.

The steering group, formed of local residents with a wide range of complementary skills in planning, construction, business administration, marketing, community relations, will meet weekly to begin with, to get the project off the ground swiftly and efficiently.

What happens next?

First, the steering group will take forward the following priorities to establish the viability of the project:
Identifying a site

Developing a business plan

Establishing channels of communication

Exploring business development support and funding options.

Should this initial work prove the business case for a community shop, the steering group will lead the community in making it happen.

Experience drawn from St Germans, and other community shop projects elsewhere in Cornwall and beyond, suggest it could take up to a year to get to the stage of opening the shop doors, although it is hoped this could happen sooner, by leaning on expertise from The Plunkett Foundation and other community development resources.

Where can I find out more?

The steering group has set up a Facebook group that will be kept frequently updated with news. Please request to join the group at Facebook.com/groups/downderrycommunityshop.

This website will become the main hub for information about the project, where you can find the latest news, updates from the steering group meetings, and where you can submit ideas.

There will also be more community events in the coming months to share project progress, consult and involve as many people in the community as possible at each stage, and to keep discussion flowing.

The community survey will remain available on the DaSRA website for those who have not yet had a chance to contribute.

To find out more in general about community shops and how they work, the Plunkett Foundation has an excellent guide.

I’d like to be involved, who should I contact?

You can contact the steering group via the Facebook group or via email at: info@downderrycommunityshop.co.uk

The steering group roles and members are as follows:

Chair:                                                                      Tim Pullin
Vice Chair: Nigel Jones
Secretary:                                                               Janet Shipman
Treasurer:                                                               Diana Twist              
Premises and planning:                                        Jem Hall, Terry Clarke, Jim Lockyer
Communications, PR and social media:               Katherine Kowalski
Governance: Dave Gatland
Retail: Dave Twist
Health and Safety Nigel Jones
Fundraising: Tim Pullin
Volunteers: Katherine Kowalski

The steering group would like to thank DaSRA, and particularly Laura Done, for their involvement so far in bringing the community together to explore and discuss the idea of a community shop in Downderry.

Thanks go also to Marcus Kern, for putting together the community survey, and to Ann Vandermeulen for her expertise and guidance on setting up the steering group.

To everyone in the community who has attended a meeting, responded to the survey, and shared ideas so positively, and to those who want to but who have not yet had a chance – thank you – your continued involvement will be crucial to the success of this project. Please join the Facebook group and keep sharing your ideas.


18 July 2023: Summary of Public Meeting held on 17 July. Report by DaSRA's chair,Laura Done, who chaired the meeting on the Future of a Shop in Downderry

The public meeting held on 17 July to discuss the future of a shop in Downderry was well attended by 94 residents:  regrettably, some people were turned away as the Village Hall had reached capacity.  We are sorry about that but inevitably insurance restrictions and fire regulation make conditions which are non- negotiable.   If you were not there, we thought you may be interested to know what conclusions were reached to secure a functioning shop in our village .

Since the announcement that Downderry Stores will close at the beginning of September, DaSRA has been exploring options to retain a shop in the village. I was able to bring the audience up to date on the research I had done on community shops. At last evening's meeting (17 July) there was overwhelming support for a proposal to look into the viability of a local community shop, a successful solution already working in 461 villages in the UK. If you would like  to know more about this form of community business, do visit www.plunkett.co.uk .  

The meeting heard from both the Chair and the Treasurer of St Germans Community Shop, founded 13 years ago, and they were very generous and  candid with information  about their experience. They  described the challenge facing us “as daunting but immensely satisfying, fun and vitally important to residents as the shop acts as community hub where you will meet and chat together, as well as buy your groceries and newspapers". They left us with the words : "If we can do it, so can you." The meeting accepted the proposal.

The meeting also agreed that a Planning Group of 6-8 residents must be convened NOW to get things moving. If you have an interest in taking this project forward, and have skills to offer, please do get in touch: info@dasra.co.uk.  Without this group to drive this on, nothing will happen.  

Also, it was announced that a Survey will be distributed to all households in the coming days asking residents what kind of shop would they like. Completed surveys  can be returned via the DasRA Post Box in Downderry Stores in the coming weeks.. Responses can be made on-line,   www.dasra.co.uk . The Survey will reveal what kind of shop residents want. Volunteers play a crucial role in the success of community shops, and the Survey will also reveal the level of support available. There is much to do. Updates will be on www.dasra.co.uk   www.facebook.com/dasra/ and Notice Boards.

Minutes of PUBLIC MEETING :  Future of a shop in Downderry.  17 July 2023

Chaired by Laura Done, Chair, DaSRA- Downderry and Seaton Residents Association. - LD

LD opened the  meeting by welcoming the 94 people seated in the Hall and regretted that more people were left outside due to the Hall’s capacity being reached.  She confirmed the purpose of the meeting.  The owners of Downderry Stores announced (6/06/23) their intention to close the village shop in the first week of September. The property, which includes 2 rented flats and the shop space and storage space, will be sold. We should note that no space is available to us once the shop is closed. Also, it should be noted that at this time, no commercial business is showing interest in taking over Downderry Stores.

As Chair of DaSRA, LD  said she  has been following up on a  suggestion made by many residents that a community shop could fill the void.  At this time, nothing has been decided, other than the fact that the current shop is closing.  If we follow the route of a community shop, it must be with the support of the community. We need that decision to be made this evening, by answering this question:

 Do we, as a community,  want to explore the feasibility of a community shop in Downderry?

If we decide to go the community shop route, we need initial input from a small number of  residents, who will make up a Planning Group.  That group is needed now to take on the responsibility - to be the decision makers, with the community’s support, to explore the viability of a community shop to serve our villages.  If agreed this evening, they must plan the setting up of a community shop.  Without that lead, nothing will happen.  While DaSRA will do all it can to support such an initiative, it is not the role of a Residents Association to set up and to manage a village  shop. LD asked all present to consider whether they have the skills and the interest in joining this Planning Group. A single sheet asking for volunteers had been handed out at the door, and she asked interested people for an immediate return so that, hopefully, a Group could be formed.   Volunteering skills and time to join a Planning Group was critical and urgent. Volunteering to work in the shop could come later.  

So another decision is urgent, if not tonight, in the next couple of weeks:

Do we have sufficient active commitment to establish  a Planning Group who will explore the viability of a community shop in Downderry?

If we decide to go for a community shop we will need significant funding - which means we will have to apply for grants from serious grant funders who will insist on us demonstrating that we have the support of the community.  Holding a Public meeting like this evening is evidence that we have sought that support. So we will be minuting what is  said, and, of course, what is decided.

LD then set out the community shop model, courtesy of information provided by the Plunkett Foundation who provide practical advice, support and training to help communities establish and run successful community businesses with long term survival rates.  Community businesses are essentially local pubs and shops which are owned and run democratically by members of the local community, on behalf of the community.  LW proposed close contact with the Plunkett Foundation, whose staff she has found to be very accessible and helpful.

The Plunkett Foundation carry out a national survey of the community business sector each year . These are the latest figures for community shops in 2022:

413 community shops trading in the UK

Average figures turnover  £184,000; has 177 members; 7 directors: 30 volunteers  4 staff

Five year survival rate of community businesses is 96% - the estimate for  small businesses rate is 41%.  Very few cease trading once open

100% of community shops source locally

Have an average of 28 suppliers per shop 

54% run or host a post office :

50% take collections for local food banks

Host other services : offer home delivery, prescription collection service

Save rural residents car journeys to alternative food stores, Community shops collectively are estimated to save 4 million miles of car journeys a year

As well as drawing on information from this well informed and accessible national organisation, LD reminded all that  there is a live experience much closer to home.  St Germans Community Shop  is thriving and LD introduced two  of their Committee members who were there to share their experiences. Lesley Banyard chairs their Management Committee  and Jon Banyard is the Treasurer.

Lesley Banyard began with an overview of St Germans Community Shop.

“St German’s community shop has been running successfully for 13 years. It is well run with its own individual experience. It is best not to follow the pattern of other shops but to make your own identity. You need to start off with project planning, and then have your core committee with a chair, treasurer and secretary; we have four other committee members for the day to day running of  the shop. The core group will need to be committed long term, be ready to give time, and provide continuity. It is quite helpful to have someone on the committee with marketing experience as without advertising and Facebook etc the shop will not work.

The St Germans Shop Management Committee meets every two months now, after meeting monthly to begin with. Conducting a Survey is a good idea to show you are serious and you would not be able to apply for grants without it. The premises are important as you will need storage for stock, monthly deliveries. Fundraising will be needed to get first purchase of stock, pay electricity, wifi etc.  You need to be realistic when you open your shop. Be careful about the time you need to be open. St German’s shop is currently open weekdays 0900-1300 then 1500-1700 with volunteers working 2 hr shifts. On Saturdays, the shop is open 0900-1200, but no-one seems to want to work on Sundays! We currently have approx. 30 volunteers  (10 Post Office trained), most over 70 years old, and a paid part-time manager, which is important to keep continuity. The manager currently works 21 hrs a week, works out rotas of 2 hour shifts, orders stock, and takes stock deliveries. The shop also needs to be kept clean and tidy with mundane tasks having to be done by the volunteers.  We would suggest you start with essentials then, as you understand your customers, you can grow your stock. A word about stock. Start with essentials ;don’t stock everything. We are not Waitrose.  Our manager is good at identifying wants. The constant difficulty is finding replacement people as the volunteer base ages but running the community shop is really rewarding and can be good fun.   The shop provides a strong community hub; volunteers make new friends, but volunteers must have the right attitude. But always remember it is a business - you must be focused”.

LD thanked Lesley for her very useful and realistic contribution.   We are at the start of this journey and nothing can happen without a site on which to put a shop so LD summarised  the steps taken so far to identify  a suitable site, which is quite a challenge in our overdeveloped village.
Existing premises may be the preferred site but that is not easy in find in Downderry. Ideally we are seeking about 40-50 sq metres for shop and storage space. Thanks go to Deviock Parish Council (DPC) chairman,Mark Gibbons, who has approached local businesses - our restaurant, our pub, and talked with our County Councillor Armand Toms over potential car parking spaces being used. Summink Different Cafe is up for sale, as a going concern.  The price to buy in, with a commitment to a 4 yr lease is a big ask, and of course, Summink Different is a much used cafe - already an asset to our community.  To sum up, local businesses are being very supportive but no realistic alternative  has yet been determined.

However, we can, this evening, put forward, at least one potential site to be  considered.

The garden behind St Nicolas Church could offer more than sufficient space for a shop. And the workshop opposite at the entrance to Coombe Park offers a dry, secure, site to serve as a very necessary storeroom.  That workshop has been very generously offered by Biddy and Jenny Daniel at a minimum cost yet to be agreed. Whatever the outcome, our sincere thanks go to the Daniel family and to St Nicolas Church for their respective offers.

This site would need a Portacabin. In many villages around the UK, portable buildings have proved to be a flexible, cheap and effective mechanism to test the viability of a community shop before, perhaps, considering more  permanent premises.  So nothing definite yet, but a possibility worth seriously exploring by the new Planning Group if, this evening, we decide to go ahead.

A key factor to consider is, of course,  finance.  And to give an insight into the finance, administration, and structure of a  community shop, LD introduced Jon Banyard who is the Treasurer of St German’s Community Shop.

Jon Banyard:”You cannot eat the elephant in one bite - this is a long term project.   I found it most important to start with the Planning Group. This is the start of a long term project and the eventual committee running the shop on a day to day basis may be entirely different from the group that starts the project. It is most important to remember this is a business but also it is a benefit to the community.  First and foremost though, it is a business and you need to keep costs low. You will need to set up in the most cost effective way as a Mutual Benefit Society.  Reduce your outgoings as much as possible This has the advantage of being exempt from business tax and corporation tax. This is quite often the reason why local shops fail because of the taxes they have to pay, and they need to make a living whereas the community shops profits stay in the community.

You will need a manager.  It is almost impossible to run with just volunteers all the time.  We tried at the beginning with three managers but this wasn’t viable, whereas one manager works really well. Volunteers are very important, it is very different managing volunteers  to managing employees. Volunteer workers are entitled to the same  Duty of Care commitments under law as employees. You will have to apply to trade under the Financial Conduct Authority, not as a limited company.
The Planning Group will need to start by forming a constitution, one that you can live by. You will need to produce annual accounts which you present to the FCA. It is best to employ, or you can have a volunteer, an accountant or book keeper. You will need to be VAT registered (more than £80k turnover) which will then take you into the second phase of becoming a committee and signing off invoices etc. You will need a business plan in order to secure funding. The Plunkett organisation is the best place to get advice and ideas. The Survey is a part of the business plan to show that there is a desire for a shop in the community. You can raise money by selling shares. St Germans raised £2500 by selling shares at £10 each to 250 people which were non-refundable but their share for life. Other people gave grants and loans.
We have a full time Post Office and we raise about £9000  a year from that. People working in the shop need to be trained for working in the Post Office too, but that is not difficult. The accounting package we use is Zero with VAT figures being produced every quarter. The turnover of the shop is £200,000, with running costs of £45000. The main cost is the salary for the part-time employee. The part-time manager makes the shop work. We use an accountant in Launceston, and that ensures probity and that no one person has too much control over finance.  The compliance issue and marketing is important in the initial stages of setting up, but well worth it. It is a daunting challenge, but once it is up and running it can be fun and enjoyable.”

LD thanked Lesley and Jon for their useful and realistic contribution to our debate.

LD reported on a Community Fund which DaSRA manages, whose purpose is restricted to safeguarding local community assets under threat.  The Community Fund was set up in 2016, when our Post Office was under threat, and was first used to subsidise the continuation of a full time Post Office in Downderry Stores. When a part-time out-reach postal service was agreed 2 years later, those residents who had been giving into the fund said keep the fund going, and let DaSRA manage it. There are residents who are still giving monthly donations - A big Thank You to them - you  have helped build the Fund to its current healthy total of £17,000 plus.

There are funds available for grants that are restricted to such community ventures.  Any application, though, will need to show evidence of community support. So if it is to be, this evening is where it begins.  This public meeting will help to establish whether the community is willing to invest in the project with money and with time.    

Another important demonstration that we have consulted the community is the distribution of a Survey throughout the community.  Marcus Kern, a local resident, who came forward immediately on hearing about the closing of the shop and offered to be on a Planning Group. Since then he has produced a Survey which he will now introduce.

Marcus Kern – Tonight we are launching the Community Shop Survey. What we have heard tonight is daunting but exciting. The purpose behind the Survey is our opportunity to make the shop the shop we want and have products which we will buy. Let’s have a show of hands in the room to see how many people have used the shop in the last month, fortnight, and week. From the result it is clear the shop is often used.
The questions on the Survey Form are those suggested by The Plunkett Foundation.
There is a QR code which people can scan to take the survey, there is a link on DaSRA website, and there will be a house drop to every house in Downderry and Seaton, Narkus and Hessenford. Please complete one form per household. Suggestions we need are: where the shop could be, what do we want, what could your contribution be and commitment, do you have a skills set that could be used ie IT, social media etc. The second part of the survey is understanding the demographic of the area. The survey is anonymous, but at the end you can leave your email address or phone number if you want to stay in touch , and add any comments.
Completed paper copies can be dropped into the DaSRA post box inside Downderry Stores as soon as possible please. We will look at responses after 3 to 4 weeks. The second form we have  to give out is asking if you can commit to the planning group. It would be great to have these back tonight if possible..
LD thanked Marcus for putting the Survey together so quickly which will enable the Planning Group to analyse the responses to get a greater awareness of what kind of shop local people want.
LD added a  couple of positives in our quest to maintain a shop but both need confirmation.
Post Office. Gary Walters the Post Master at Menheniot Stores provides our Tuesday & Friday outreach service. He is confident that he can continue to provide a service at a different location. Details still to be advised but he thinks it can work at a new site.

And it is possible, if we can provide a location, that the current newspaper deliveries, as available at Downderry Stores, can continue without interruption. Getting these two services set up could be a priority for the new Planning Group.

Laura Done now asks for questions from the floor: Please raise hands, and a mic will be brought to you and, please start by stating your name.
Q. from Vicky Trenerry: to Lesley Banyard:  Do  you have anyone to step into your shoes when you decide to give up as Chair and Treasurer?
LB. A. No we do not have a Succession Plan, which is a worry.
Q. From James Turley:  Is the shop registered as a community asset?  If it is could we not order a community asset transfer, then it will have to remain as a shop?.  
A. From Mark Gibbons, Chairman of Deviock Parish Council (DPC) replied. There is a current asset order on the pub, but not on the shop. This order gives delay, but not ultimate protection.The shop is a commercial business so the owners  can sell whenever they want,

Q from Jane Hall: If the shop was identified as a community asset in the Neighbourhood Development Plan, would it be protected it? Would we have the right to bid for it/
A from  Mark Gibbons.  No.
A from Laura Done . If it was identified as a community asset, we would have 6 weeks to register an interest in buying the shop, and then 6 months to evidence that we had the money to buy it.  We need to recognise that the Downderry Stores premises includes 2 rental flats as well as the shop and storage areas so the market price could be far beyond the reach of a community-led purchase,

Kevin Done: As Chairman of the Downderry & District Community Bus  Association, we runs
regular trips out of the village to local shops, which has mixed attendance. If there is no shop in the future, the bus can put on extra trips but only if it is used and supported.

Karen Tanner: interested to know by a show of hands if anyone is interested in taking this forward?  I am curious to know how many want to get involved.
Kaja Curry  – I have lived in the village for decades and am whole heartedly behind the project. I connect in the shop with other people and chat – it’s not just a shop but a focal point for everyone.  Without the shop, there is no focus point.  
Lesley Banyard - Chair of St German’s Community shop – there was a period of time in St Germans when we didn’t have a shop and it was shocking. Very much a social thing, a vital hub, when it has gone it feels like something has died.  Please don’t underestimate how horrible it is without a shop.
Mark Gibbons DPC – it is important to be realistic about this but is it worth it?  YES . It is for  the community. We need to look at all the avenues. DPC is currently looking at affordable housing for the community. It is important to get things started, once something has stopped it is harder to start again. Although there are many here  tonight, we need to make sure word gets out to surrounding areas too in  Narkurs and Hessenford.
LD referred the audience to an article in Cornwall Live headline: Downderry - the Cornish village fighting to keep[ its community alive (17/07/23) which covers the issues that MG refers to as well including the closure of our shop.
LD thanked all those for their questions and comments . And moved onto one question asked in the Survey which we need an answer quite urgently.

Do we have sufficient active commitment to establish a community shop demonstrated  with the formation of a Planning Group?

LD reminded the audience of the single sheet form given out this evening -  Volunteers are needed to take this idea further.   We need  certain skills and experience  of the group.such as : business management, financial e.g. accountancy, HR, fundraising and PR, legal, and marketing/communications/social media etc.

Thank you all. From your comments, it seems pretty evident that a community shop is the favoured route to keeping a shop in the village. LD asked for a  show of hands to assess support for  taking the community shop route to retain as a shop in  Downderry with a Planning Group exploring its feasibility.

The show of hands showed a majority backing.

Decision: We, as a community,  want to explore the feasibility of a community shop in Downderry

LD asked those who would like to be part  of a Planning Group,  steering the direction to secure a community shop if they would be happy to come forward. A positive  indication tonight would mean we are ready.  Others could join in the coming days when they return the Survey.

Those who signed your name & email address  when you came in this evening will be kept informed via their email addresses. DaSRA members will automatically be kept informed .

So with the meeting over - LD thanked all for a very motivating and very satisfying meeting.  Now we’ve got six weeks for a seamless transition!!

Kevin Done proposed thanks to Laura for all the hard work she has done in getting the information and organising done so far. The room applauded and also thanked Laura/

Ends. 20/7/23

12 July 2023: DaSRA will host a PUBLIC MEETING on the future of a village shop. Monday 17 July, 7.30pm.  Downderry Village Hall  

It will be an early opportunity for residents to share ideas about retaining a shop in the village and to gauge the community's support to set up and run a community shop if no commercial alternative is secured.

One potential route to consider is that of setting up a community shop - many residents have already raised that possibility.  There  is a growing development of community shop models around the country, and many will know of the nearby examples in St Germans and Crafthole.   Three factors are critical before we can be confident this option could work for us. A site must be located, funding needs must be identified, and, finally, volunteers must come forward to steer the project and, then, importantly, many more to run the shop.  

Finding a suitable location for a shop in the village will be the first challenge; if you have any thoughts on potential sites, please contact me any time.

No community venture will happen without the active support of local people, so the early formation of a group of residents willing to share their skills, and time, to plan and develop the project is crucial.  If this engagement interests you, we'd love to hear from you.

We won't have all the answers by 17th July, nor should we,  as we can only move forward with the support of local residents.  We need to hear what our community would like the shop to offer and to hear from those who will come forward to make it happen. If you can't make the 17th, but would still like to add ideas about retaining a shop in the village, please email me with your views before the meeting.

6 June 2023. Downderry Stores is to close in the first week of September.  Kim and Richard James, who have run the village shop for 24 years, said that falling turnover and rising costs meant they could not continue to trade. The current economic climate with high inflation, rising energy costs and supplier closures had undermined the viability of the business.  

“It is with great sadness, that we are being forced to take this step,” they said. “We would like to thank the community for all the support we have received for more than two decades. We treasure  the friendships we have made across the counter during all these years, and we are very mindful of the great support we have received from our wonderful staff.”

In announcing the news, Laura Done, chair of DaSRA, the Downderry and Seaton residents association, said news of the closure was “a severe blow for the community. The shop has served as the very hub of village life, and we remember with especial gratitude the lifeline it provided during the long and testing months of the pandemic. Kim and Richard have played a vital role in all our lives, and they and the shop will be sorely missed."

“It will take us all some time to digest this devastating news, but in the coming weeks our community will have to pull together to discuss what steps might be taken to fill the sudden void, that is opening up at the centre of our village life.”  

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