Describe your project
We want to buy and re-open The George as a community hub - it will become a lively, welcoming and inclusive space in the heart of the village, offering a café, shop and Post Office, community activities and cultural events for people of all ages and walks of life. We believe that community enables well-being. At The George, we aim to deliver a whole range of benefits including not only tangible things like good food and freshly baked bread but also a sense of ownership and belonging. We want to provide a way of channelling all the talents and energies that we know already exist in the village. Providing an all-day café and meeting place is key to this project, though The George will be much more than this. In order to make the project self-financing, we will offer a combination of revenue-earning services and community uses.
How will your project benefit your local community?
The plans include: • An all-day café and bakery • Gallery and venue for music and live events • A small business hub offering flexible short-term workspaces for small businesses and start-ups • A permanent home for the village Post Office • A retail space for cards, gifts, newspapers, magazines, stationery and other items • Meeting and function rooms for hire by local groups. The café, bakery, shop and Post Office will all be run by paid staff, supported by trainees and young people on work experience and where necessary by volunteers. An elected Management Committee will appoint staff, manage budgets and ensure that the services we offer meet the needs of Newnham residents and the wider community. Our priorities are to provide an inclusive and welcoming space which will be accessible to all. Enabling communication, community activities, and the provision of essential services - such as post-office counter, banking facilities, retail space and a café, as well as assisting 'third sector' provision for health and well-being by helping to combat loneliness and isolation in all sections of the community. There will be a gallery space which can be used as a music, event and film venue and a large basement area which could be developed for use by local young people. The intention in the medium term is to become self-funding with income generated from activities already described and by leasing office space, a 'homeworkers hub' and business 'catered away-days'.
Please give details of any support you have from your local community
More than 90% of respondents supported the idea of the community buying The George. At nearly 95%, a café was the most requested service. Other favoured options were: • food in the evenings • a meeting place for community groups • workshops • an art and gallery space mixed with some retail. When asked what existing services were most used in the village, the Post Office came out top, with more than 85% saying they were regular users. As the Post Office will be among the services offered at The George, it is safe to assume that footfall for the café and other parts of our offer will be substantially increased as a result. We have sold community shares to value of £125,000 to local people.
How big is your community? And how many people will benefit from your project?
population 1600+ as well as tourists and neighbouring villages
Tell us what you intend to spend the money on.
We need to refit the kitchen, which has been stripped out. We have costed this to be £10,000 and we have a commitment of £5k from County Council Grant. This would make it happen.
When and why was your project founded?
Our project began life when we formed a pressure group known as ‘ReNewnham’ in response to the closure of the George Café and many other businesses, in the village. We want to make the village thrive, not close down. There are no other cafes and the post office may close.