Share Offer launch a great success!

Crediton Community BookshopA new chapter opened for Crediton’s Book Shop with the launch of a share offer to the community on 17 November. Featured in the Independent, ITV news and many regional papers, the share offer has got off to a great start.Jill Holden, who has owned the business since 1983, said: “I’ve contemplated retirement for some time, and when a group of local people got together to see if we could turn it into a community-owned bookshop, I jumped at this exciting opportunity.”The Crediton community, which has set up a community enterprise with the support of The Co-operative Enterprise Hub, hopes its share issue will be a ‘best-seller’ as it looks to raise the £30,000 needed to bring the bookstore into community ownership. A voluntary committee has been working since the summer on the Business Plan supported by The Fruit Tree for Business.After almost 30 years at the helm, its current owner, Jill Holden, was contemplating retirement but “jumped at the chance” of supporting the community when they approached her with the ‘novel’ idea of running the store. It costs from just £20 to co-own the store and Ken McKechnie, Committee Chairman and a Director of Crediton Community Bookshop, said: “We have been overwhelmed with the interest and support expressed so far and, believe that the energy and enthusiasm of booklovers, volunteers, visitors to the area and the wider community will secure this bookstore for the next generation of readers and writers. “Our main goal is to benefit the community by supporting local authors, promoting reading and literacy for all ages – with children’s books a speciality in the new store and, provide a meeting place and focus for reading and writing groups.”The UK is witnessing a resurgence in such co-operative-led solutions to the running of businesses and services. Figures show a near ten per cent increase in UK co-operative enterprises – rising from 5,450 (in 2010) to approaching 6,000 (5,933) in 2011, with a combined UK membership up by 5.5 per cent to 13.5 million people. The Co-operative Group – the UK’s largest member-owned organisation with 7 million members – has pledged a further £5m over the next three years (2013-15) to developing The Co-operative Enterprise Hub, a free service delivering the specialist advice needed for community-owned enterprises to get off the ground or grow. Other community groups interested in co-operative solutions to the running of businesses and services can contact The Fruit Tree for Business by emailing or visiting a copy of the share offer document for Crediton Community Bookshop or for more information visit email or ring The Bookshop on 01363 774740.