The Post Office and Shop in Smarden is closing, which will be devastating for the village, especially its most vulnerable residents. This project is to build a new community shop with Post Office Services. It aims to ensure a vibrant social hub in the village, promoting inclusion and reducing isolation, and will be especially beneficial to the elderly, disabled and those who have limited access to a car.
Prior to launching the community share offer, the group decided to run an appeal for provisional pledges to assess community commitment to financially supporting the project. In a little over one month they received pledges from around 110 people totaling almost £70,000 so decided to proceed with a share offer launch.
In total, £89,675 was invested by 311 investors from the community, including a number of small businesses in the neighbourhood. Smarden Store was also succesful in securing a loan of £75,000 from Kent Community Foundation.
The Booster Programme was supportive of this application as there was potential to develop partnerships with other funding institutions, it was a chance to add a second shop to the Booster portfolio, and they had secured Social Investment Tax Relief (SITR) advanced assurance secured.