In 2011 Transition Primrose Hill were successful in obtaining an Awards for All grant from the Big Lottery to run courses and workshops aimed at helping us learn and relearn skills which will be useful to us as energy and therefore food and imported goods become more expensive and we need to depend on each other and local services.
We have a continuous rolling programme of workshops: on preserving (marmalade), growing food in containers, quilting, sewing, sustainable eating, wattle fencing, green roofs and much more.
We are always open to helping you host a workshop of your particular relevant skill, do get in touch!
Look out for regular slots at Mary’s Living and Giving – the second Sunday of the month for learning to use a sewing machine and making bags out of recycled material.
At the end of last year after seeing a potential premesis the TPH team started to explore the idea of a community shop. Initial thoughts were to have a ‘FARM SHOP’ in the city…a few of us met to brainstorm, explore and start the sketches of a business plan. We found out that there is lots of support out there to draw from as cooperatives and community shops are an increasing trend- mostly in small villages, but good reliable organic food supply to cities is increasingly desirable.
What would the Community Shop do?
- Provide a different type of ownership- it would be a consumer owned co-operative.
- Provide good local organic food to City Folk, and be accessible in normal shop hours.
- Support local farmer directly by providing a reliable FAIRTRADE market for their produce
- Support more planet friendly farming methods- ORGANIC, LOCAL and SEASONAL
- Reduce costly oil dependent food miles in our food supply
- Increase overall Food Soveringty
- Make local shopping personable and fun!
We found that high rents and paying core staff, amongst other things made the financial side of the business plan too challenging, with the property that we saw and the timescales we were under to take the lease.
However it is NOT IMPOSSIBLE, especially if a more favourable premesis comes up. If enough people were interested to create this reality in Primrose Hill, we could do it. We have support from both the Plunkett Foundation and Cooperatives UK, at the ready to help us.
This is what it would entail.
- Form a proper steering group of local people.
- Write a rigourous business plan.(support from cooperatives UK)
- Incorporate as an IPS -Industrial and Provident Society (Support from Plunkett foundation)
- Issue a community share offer- this could be a fixed term of investment paid back with interest (not loads, but better than the banks!)
- Find a premesis, source local organic farms and health food products
- Start shopping in our shop- there would be different membership levels of discounts.
- We would calculate a sustainable amount of sales needed and it would be up to us as a community to meet it. If we don’t use it, it won’t work.
Other solutions at this point might be to simply set up a food buying group, a weekly farmers market or look at setting up a meat box scheme.