Marsden Grocery Community Benefit Society
Marsden's vilagers wanted to create a shop that will benefit the whole community – families that are struggling to make ends meet and older people on restricted incomes, Marsden’s growing population of vegetarians and vegans and people on special diets who find it hard to find the right food locally.
They also wanted to create high-quality local jobs with flexible working hours, meaningful volunteering opportunities and new business opportunities for people who want to supply the shop and sell local food to local people.
The community-owned business has received matched investment of £6,650 towards their community share offer, which saw 396 local people come together raising over £53,000 to set up a co-operative grocery store after their local greengrocers closed.
Located in the stunning Colne Valley at the edge of the Pennines, Marsden is a large post-industrial village in the metropolitan borough of Kirklees, West Yorkshire, which has recently seen several local retail businesses close. Thanks to the actions of local residents who came together to raise funds, the grocery will act as a valuable lifeline in the village community.
“Marsden can feel a long way away from anywhere, particularly for older people and those struggling to make ends meet. Losing our greengrocers felt like a real moment of threat in our community. We were seriously worried that other retail businesses would follow and that our self-sufficiency, which is a village hallmark, would be lost.”
“Support from the Community Shares Booster Programme has been so important to the development of the shop. It gave us much-needed hope when we felt daunted by how much we had to raise. And the process of assessment itself was really helpful. It made us really think through the choices we were making and our business plan is far stronger for having to go through such a rigorous procedure. All in all, it’s strengthened our planning, built our confidence. And, of course, we’re really glad that we were awarded the money!,” said Fiona Russell, Chair of Marsden Grocery Community Benefit Society.
Why did Booster support this business?
- A strong and simple business proposition for a community business that will strengthen community identity and cohesion, made by a highly experienced group with strong local support.
- The group involved had a very strong track record of community consultation and involvement in the development of this proposal.
- Marsden was designated a conservation area in 1974. The material fabric of a conservation area relies on strong social capital and the sustainability of the community itself. The grocery store is located in what the Marden Conservation Area Appraisal report (2007) describes as“the nucleus of the village”and forms part of the“active frontage”of the main shopping street. Maintaining the nucleus of the village as an area for shopping is crucial for the sustainability of the community and the conservation area as a whole.