Villagers in Marsden, West Yorkshire wanted to create a shop to benefit the whole community, including residents on lower incomes, vegetarians, vegans and people on special diets who find it hard to find the right food locally.
They also wanted to create high-quality local jobs with flexible working hours, meaningful volunteering opportunities and new business openings for local suppliers. A total of 396 local people came together and raised more than £53,000 to set up a co-operative grocery store. The Community Shares Booster Programme invested a further £6,650 in their community share offer – helping the people of Marsden create a valuable lifeline for everyone in the village.
Located in the stunning Colne Valley at the edge of the Pennines, Marsden is a large post-industrial village that has recently seen several local retail businesses close. Thanks to the actions of the local residents who came together to raise funds, the grocery now acts as a valuable lifeline in the village community.
“Marsden can feel a long way away from anywhere, particularly for older people and those struggling to make ends meet. Losing our greengrocers felt like a real moment of threat in our community. We were seriously worried that other retail businesses would follow and that our self-sufficiency, which is a village hallmark, would be lost,” said Fiona Russell, Chair of Marsden Grocery Community Benefit Society.
“It made us really think through the choices we were making and our business plan is far stronger for having to go through such a rigorous procedure. All in all, it’s strengthened our planning, built our confidence. And, of course, we’re really glad that we were awarded the money!”