When our shop closed in 2012, Cobham Village residents formed a legal Community Interest Company (Cobham Community Stores CIC) and we now run the shop ourselves. Any profit from the project must be re-invested in the shop or spent on other community initiatives and causes.


Questions and Answers

1. How do we ensure our community shop will be successful?

A Community Interest Company (CIC) is able to raise money from grants as well as the local community, which supplements revenue from sales.  Staff wages are the most significant cost but with the help of community volunteers working in the shop this cost is significantly reduced. The success of a community shop is in the hands of the community with profits reinvested into it. We hope that community ownership will encourage people to support the shop.

2. How can I be satisfied that the money I donate to the shop (through share ownership, donations, fund raising activity) and money that is made through profits, is invested in the shop?

A legal company has been set up (CIC) with a particular legal structure which means that all money invested in the shop and made through profits of the shop's activities must be re-invested in the shop, or other community projects to be voted on at a shareholder’s meeting. The main priority is to make the shop viable, so all profits will be re-invested. As with other Companies in the UK, the CIC posts its accounts on an annual basis for full transparency.

3. How was the money raised to open the shop?

The majority was raised through grants, share sales and donations, along with a considerable amount of fundraising. We also benefited from donated materials, labour/time and other donated items from individuals and local businesses. We will continue to fundraise to subsidise developments within the shop and to fund new services.

4. What happens if the shop does not succeed in the long term?

We are confident that it will. But if not then the first thing would be a shareholders' meeting to decide if we had reached the end of the road or if there was another avenue that could be pursued,  for example smaller premises.  If it was decided to close down completely then the CIC's money would be shared out according to company insolvency principles.  The different grades of creditors would be paid out first be paid out first then the shareholders.  Under CIC rules any additional money left over would then be allocated to local community groups which would be voted on at a meeting of shareholders.

Managing the shop and the project

5. Who are the directors of the CIC?

At the first public meeting, the community was asked to volunteer to become part of the committee to take forward the idea of of setting up a Community Store. Once the Community Store was deemed a viable project, members were asked to volunteer to become directors of a legal CIC. The current directors are Gillian Burgess and Julie Wilder.  

6. Are the directors of the CIC remunerated in any way?

No, directors of the CIC are not paid a salary and cannot profit in any way from the shop. The directors volunteer their time and skills to the community just like all the other volunteers with the aim of making this project a success.

7. I want to become a director of the CIC, how do I go about this?

The directors need the vote of the Shareholders to remain in office. Other members of the community are welcome to put their names forward for a position. Shareholders will ultimately decide who the directors will be and can call a meeting of Shareholders at any time.

8. Who else manages the shop project apart from the directors?

A small group of volunteers from the local community make up a management team, and we are lucky to have volunteers whose professional day jobs include: shop-fitting, local enterprise project management, Legal, Marketing and Finance. An experienced Shop Manager manages the day-to-day running of the shop and the volunteers.

9. Does anyone take a salary?

Only the Shop Manager takes a salary. The management committee and people who work in the shop are all volunteers. 
The Shop Manager is not a director of the CIC. 

10. Can I join the management team?

Yes! Let us know how you would like to help and we may be able to find you a role in the core committee or in the shop team.


Shares and Fundraising

11. Who can own shares and what are they for?

Anyone in the local community can give feedback and make suggestions for how the shop is run, but owning shares entitles you to a vote on any resolution at the AGM or Shareholders Meeting - which gives you a real influence on the future direction of the shop.

12. Do multiple shares give me multiple votes?

No.  We encourage people to buy more shares because the shop requires funding over and above profits made in from sales. We encourage everyone to buy as many shares as they can afford as a means of donating to the shop project. If you are not able to support the project financially, there are many other ways that you can help. This is a shop owned by the community for the community and will only be successful with your support.

14. How old do you need to be to buy a share?

There is no minimum age to buy a share but you must be over 16 years of age at the time of a meeting to cast a vote. You will get a share certificate as proof of ownership.

15. Can I buy shares for a group or household?

There is nothing to stop you buying shares on behalf of your household, however, we need to register each share to a single name for our records and for voting purposes. Therefore, one name will go on each share and only one person will be able to vote. There is nothing to stop one person paying for a share (or shares) for another person. Whichever name you give us will be registered as the shareholder. Remember, you can buy shares for your children but they must be over 16 years of age at a meeting to vote.

16. Will the share pay a dividend?

No. The share scheme is a way to secure investment for the shop and allows the community to make key decisions over how the shop is managed. The CIC structure does not allow profits to be distributed to the directors or any shareholder. The profits must be re-invested in the shop or spent on community projects (as decided by the shareholders).

17. How can I find out how the shop is doing?

We aim to keep everyone updated through various sources including this website, local community publications, Twitter and Facebook and annual public meetings.  Or simply drop in and ask one of our wonderful volunteers!