Thank you for joining us on our journey to open this community business. Here are the updates!
The share issue is now closed, and the total raised was £23,450. The management committee took the decision to downscale the project to reflect both the investment received from the share issue and the current grant funding position. We also had to decide whether or not to apply for a grant from the Rural Development Leader Programme. This is European money aimed at supporting Rural development and because of Brexit, the programme came to an end last week. As our downscaling plans fitted within the criteria for the amount we could apply for, we decided to do so and our full application for £100,000 was made last week. The decision will be made mid-February if we get through the appraisal stage now taking place.
The New Budget
The new budget is based on a reduced building size of approx. 100m2 split 2/3 shop and 1/3 café. We asked 3 local builders to tender and we have chosen Modular Works Ltd of Burlingham. They provide a Structural Insulated Panel System (SIPS), built off-site and erected very quickly. Plans and architectural drawings will be developed over the next few months.
The budget is now:
£183,450 total project value stocked and open for business.
£23,450 shares purchased
£10,000 Co-op foundation grant
£50,000 Co-op foundation interest-free 5-year loan
£100,000 Leader grant application
These are likely to be issued at the end of January after we get the results of a structural survey by the Parish council on the walls of the garden.
The Budget depends on winning the Leader grant. We do have other funding possibilities and it is our intention to replace the £50,000 Co-op loan with grant funding between now and February. These funding possibilities include Hertfordshire Partnership Foundation Trust and the Geoffrey Watling Trust (application for £25,000 already made; decision December). Once the position of the freehold is known we can also continue our application with ‘Big Lottery reaching communities’ for the cost of renewable energy sources and possibly refurbishing the existing outbuildings. In addition, we are exploring funding possibilities with the Tudor Trust and in January, we will make a presentation to various local charitable trusts.
We have been through the first hurdle with Heritage Lottery for the costs of recreating the garden and should be able to take the next steps in February.
Our First AGM
We intend to convene our first AGM towards the end of February 2019 as by then we will know the Parish Council’s position with the Walled Garden, as well as the result of our Leader application. Due notice will be given to members in the New Year. We will present our first year’s accounts and a report on the first year’s activities. The whole Management Committee will stand down at this first AGM. and can nominate themselves for re-election by the Societies membership. Any Member of the society can nominate themselves for election to the 12 positions on the Management Committee and we encourage you to do so.
A section of the AGM could be opened to the whole community with the aim of increasing membership and ensuring that the community is both included and is behind the project. If we are in a position to proceed with the build it will be important to know that the volunteer pledges to help in the shop/café/garden are in place and that we are confident that we have the means to deliver and open for business.
We did finally receive advance assurance from HMRC that our share offer complies for SEIS tax relief and that taxpayers would be able to apply for the 50% tax relief. This is a little way off as we have to be trading for 4 months before this can happen.
Just one minor detail outstanding which should be resolved with planning permission received very shortly. This is of course based on the original plan but will only require an amended planning application to be put in place.
A film in the making!!-
Students from the Norwich University of Arts have visited the site and are keen to make a short film about the restoration of the garden. Early days on this and has yet to be scoped, but quite exciting!
Help Needed in all teams
Help make this project happen by getting involved. We need your expertise ! Please contact email@example.com to join in with any of our teams.