In 2005, when the only remaining shop in the village closed, the residents of the thriving village of Metfield took matters into their own hands. They decided they needed a shop close to home. Soon after it reopened in April 2006, it became a CIC and local people have been reaping the benefits of taking an active role in its running ever since.
“The benefits of running as a CIC are that it suits our objectives perfectly,” says regular volunteer Tessa Harding. “We are a business that operates for the benefit of our community.”
While it provides a general convenience store for the benefit of people living in Metfield, nearby villages and the surrounding rural area, it also features local produce and acts as an outlet for local suppliers in order to boost and stimulate the local economy and reduce food miles.
“Where we can, we cater for more specialist tastes with ranges including organic produce and delicatessen, and we consider the particular needs of our villagers. So we can provide smaller portions for those living alone or bulk buying for those with many mouths to feed, for example,” says Harding.
Currently run by a very hard working group of volunteers, it aims to grow its profit further and provide paid employment and offer work experience opportunities to local young people. Equally important, it aims to act as a focal point for community life in the village, offering information and opportunities for social interaction to its volunteers and customers alike.
Harding says: “The shop serves a very important social function. It is where people meet, talk, seek information, find out what events are planned and so on. This role has become even more crucial since the village pub closed a year ago. We organise occasional events in the village, such as an annual Apple Day walk, Graze and Buy events and various product promotions.”
In July 2010, Metfield Stores became a cooperative CIC and shareholders now hold either Ordinary (voting) shares or Equity (non-voting) shares. This has allowed those shareholders who do not wish to attend meetings or vote to just support the shop by investing in Equity shares.
Linda Norris, former Chair of Metfeld Stores, adds: “Our greatest achievement to date is simply keeping going and remaining viable. Five and a half years on, Metfield still has a shop and people in Metfield know each other better and work together for the benefit of all. It’s a fitting result for all the hard work and positive energy that has gone into keeping this valued village amenity open.”
||Metfield, Harleston, Norfolk
||CIC limited by shares
|Community interest statement
||Benefitting the local economy and local people through the provision of local produce, employment and work experience opportunities, while also acting as a social, community hub for local people.
Find out more about Metfield Stores