Happy New Year!
The first piece of 2017 good news is that we are through to the second and final stage of the LEADER competition, which, if we pass, could yield us approximately £30,000. LEADER have offered us much support in getting to this stage, so we feel reasonably hopeful. We have another application in to the Power to Change Community Business Fund. We should know by the end of January whether we are through to the second stage.
2017 will be a critical and, we hope, exciting year for BCSL. As your Management Committee, we are excited to work to establish the Bledington Shop and Café, and this January we return with even greater determination to make it happen. Our efforts go in two directions (1) reshaping the building to be simpler and less expensive so that we can get up and running more quickly; and (2) raising the rest of the money needed to do that. As soon as we are ready to bring revised plans for the building to you for discussion and decision we will do so.
NEW FUNDRAISING GROUP
To concentrate on raising the essential funds, a new fundraising group is being set up to pursue all available opportunities: grant-giving agencies, businesses, individuals, local events, etc. But the Committee cannot do this alone. The Bledington Shop and Café is a community enterprise. It needs your support – whether it is ideas, suggestions, time, resources or participation. If you can contribute in any way, please get in touch. We want to harness ALL the skills in the village.
It's not all good news though. In December we learned that our £50,000 submission to the Prince’s Countryside Trust was unsuccessful. Out of 115 applications received, we were one of the 28 shortlisted for consideration - which was promising - but they only had funds for 19 projects. We can apply again in the next round.
2016 saw plenty of other successful fundraising – most noteworthy was the £13,000 we raised from the many hundreds of teas and cakes sold at Chastleton. But also successful was the wonderful safari supper in late November when 39 people took part and we raised £720 – over £900 when we collect the gift aid – in one terrific evening. We ate delicious food at so many different houses, took part in much hearty conversation and laughter and made many new friends. A number of other events are planned for 2017 – these will be in Bledington News when dates are fixed.
DATE FOR YOUR DIARY - FRIDAY 3 FEB
The first fundraising event of the New Year will be a traditional evening of music and dancing - A Hootenanny on Friday, February 3, in the Village Hall. The band is '16 Strings'- it will be the full 6 piece group including a caller. Tickets will be £15.00; a delicious buffet is planned plus a licensed bar! It promises to be great fun and we look forward to seeing you there! Please reserve your tickets today from Rebecca Allen 07850 830 912 Rebecca@rcfree.me
FURTHER IMPROVING THE SHOP SITE
Meanwhile, to improve the appearance of the shop site and to explore ideas of some sort of garden, you are invited to join in on Saturday morning, January 28 at 10am at the shop site. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Please come with tools and enthusiasm for a couple of hours. For more information, please contact Sophie Pringle on firstname.lastname@example.org.
News and updates from the Shop Group will continue to be included in Bledington News throughout the year. Look out for these.
Michael and Robin McCulloch
01608 658 941