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Crediton community keeps their bookshop in business
8:00am Saturday 5th October 2013 in Mid Devon News
AN independent bookshop opens in Crediton today (Saturday) after hundreds of people clubbed together to bring the store under community ownership.
The community sprung into action after the former owner retired last year and a non-for-profit organisation was set up last April.
With the support of the Co-operative Enterprise Hub, The Crediton Community Bookshop offered people shares in the new venture with the option to invest between £20 and £20,000.
Now 275 people own the shop having paid in £39,000 between them. The money will provide working capital and will help pay for initial opening stock.
The move has secured the future of the shop which supporters hope will become the region’s new literary hub.
John Skrine, of the community organisation said: “We’re very excited, and particularly grateful and amazed, that people in this not terribly big town have helped raise £39,000 in less than a year to save a bookshop.
“We’re just hoping we can make a success of it and are looking forward to seeing them all come in.
“Our specialism is going to be children’s books, but we’re looking at what we can do to help local writers.
“We want to be a place where writers and people who love books gravitate to, and we want to offer independent expertise, but we’ll have to take one step at a time.”
Ken McKechnie, co-chair of the organisation, said: “We want it to be part of the community, part of the high street, a place where book lovers can meet and where book groups can get together.”
“The bookshop had been in the community 35 years, and a lot of people are really fond of it and wanted to see it continue.”
The UK has seen a 25% increase in co-operative enterprises since 2009.
Michael Fairclough, the Co-operative Group’s head of community and co-operative Investment, said: “Determined communities such as this demonstrate how cooperation can bekeyto safeguarding much loved local assets.”
Children’s author Dame Babette Cole will be at the shop’s grand opening ceremony, which starts at 9am.
Shares in Crediton Community Bookshop are still available from as little as £20 – for more details visit www.creditoncommunity bookshop.co.uk
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