Mission Statement: to cater for the needs of Otterton Villagers through the provision of a community convenience shop run sustainably and profitably in the former snooker room on Otterton Village Hall.
The last convenience shop in Otterton closed some 10 years ago. At that time a small group of villagers tried to save it but did not succeed. Then in 2011, as East Budleigh Village – which is 3 miles from Otterton – was planning to move its community shop from a portacabin into a new purpose built building, a member of its management committee suggested that Otterton Village might like to take over the portacabin to start its own community shop.
Out of this suggestion, Viv Price, an Otterton Villager, and John Edmonds, the then Chairman of the Parish Council, agreed to work together to see if such a project was feasible. A survey was undertaken in 2012 which showed overwhelming support for the establishment of a village shop; 55 villagers offered to help in the shop while 80 offered to purchase £50 bonds and 28 people offered to provide specialist help. Following the results of the survey a management committee was formed to establish a community shop consisting of 8 villagers and chaired by Viv Price.
Various locations for a community shop were investigated including space in the Village Hall and locating a portacabin in the car park of the Kings Arms Hotel in Otterton. The investigation proved unfruitful. In mid-2012 the community shop management committee was approached by the Vicar of St Michaels and All Angels Church in Otterton to see if the management committee would consider locating the shop in the Church as its PCC was considering re-ordering the Church into a community centre. After discussions with the PCC the shop management committee agreed to this suggestion and identified a suitable location for the community shop within the re-ordered Church.
Several members of the Community Shop management committee joined members of St Michaels PCC to form a steering group to direct the re-ordering of the Church. The group employed an architect to produce plans and designs for the re-ordered Church/community centre. After an 18 month period and several meetingswith the Exeter Diocesan Advisory Committee the plans were agreed in principle. In the meantime the quinquennial review of the Church was carried out and indicated thatsubstantial repairs were needed to its roof. Until this work is completed it is not viable to locate a community shop in the Church due to damp. As around £800,000 is required to carry out the roof repairs and re-order the Church, the community shop committee decided to approach the Village Hall Committee once again to discuss the possibility of locating the Shop there.
After a number of meetings the snooker club offered the shop committee the use of the snooker room for a community shop. Negotiations for a lease took place and evetually this was signed on 15 September 2015. Work to refurbish the snooker room began in late September after planning permission was received from EDDC. The refurbishment was completed in late November and the community shop opened for trading on 1st December 2014 (see photos).
During the discussions and negotiations to find a location for the Otterton Community Shop, villagers, volunteers and management committee members were busy raising funds to cover the costs of starting up a Shop. The Village and members of the management committee are extremely grateful to the following people and organisations which gave or raised funds to establish the Shop;
- Big Lottery Fund
- Devon County Council
- East Devon AONB Sustainable Development Fund.
- East Devon District Council
- Exmouth Rotary Club
- Ladram Bay Holiday Park
- Norman Family Charitable Trust
- Otterton Community Shop Shareholders
- Otterton Parish Council
- Otterton Village Hall Committee
- Plunkett Foundation
- Western Power
The Otterton Community has been superb raising over £14,000 through fundraising projects and events and the purchase of shares in the community shop. There are over 100 shareholders each with a minimum of one £10 share, though individual shareholders may have more shares.
In addition the OCS Management Committee received splendid advice and support from David Fisher of the Plunkett Foundation, from other established community shops, in particular East Budleigh Village Shop and Ilsington Community Shop, as well as Ide and Plymtree Community Shops. All told £43,000 was raised to get this project underway.