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 profits must be re-invested in the shop.


Questions and Answers

1. How do we ensure our community shop stays 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. Are all profits, donations or fundraising money invested back into the shop?

Yes. A Community Interest Company (CIC) has a particular legal structure which means that all money invested in the shop and profits made through the shop's activities must be re-invested in the shop, or other community projects to be voted on at a shareholder’s meeting (although this is rare, as most profits must be reinvested into the shop to keep the business viable). 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 back in 2012?

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 become / remain directors. Any members of the community are welcome to put their names forward for a director 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. 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 and part time shop assistant take a salary. The management committee and all other people who work in the shop are all volunteers. The Shop Manager is not a director of the CIC. 

10. Can I join the volunteer 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 owns 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 if there are any resolutions proposed about the future running of the shop at the Annual General Meeting.

12. Do multiple shares give me multiple votes?

No. It's great if people can buy more shares because the shop needs funding over and above profits made from sales. You can buy as many shares as you like as a way of donating to the project, but no matter how many shares you own you will only be entitled to one vote per resolution. 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.

13. 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. 

14. Will the share pay a dividend or grow in value?

No. The share scheme is a simple way to secure investment for the shop, and for those who care about the shop to influence key decisions over how it is managed and developed. 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).

15. How can I buy shares and how much do they cost?

Shares are £10 each (at time of writing). Please contact the shop manager or directors for more information.

16. 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, Facebook and annual public meetings.  Or simply drop in and ask one of our wonderful volunteers. We are looking for a volunteer to help edit this website and create regular newsletters, please let us know if you can help!