Update on our community investment progress

We thought you would like to hear how our community investment plans are progressing with buying Tywardreath village shop and Elmswood House and running them as collaborative social enterprises alongside our activities at Newhouse Farm.
Josh and I are completely reassured that we made the right decision to invite our community to play such an instrumental role in our business planning, it was without doubt the most effective and fastest way to launch this ambitious project. Local people have truly embraced our plans and given us their kind, encouraging words, but also really useful offers of physical help and an amazing amount of financial support has been pledged, so we are making faster progress with substantially less expenditure than we originally anticipated!
In a month we have had pledges for over £200,000 in small loans from 100+ Tywardreath residents or people with a connection to the village.  Many people have had to first give notice to release their savings.  We have not yet received all this money and we haven’t counted in the total any of the verbal pledges we have had.
After our successful launch event at the New Inn on the 18th January we hosted another event 3 weeks later at Newhouse Farm on the 13th February to update our community on our progress. Both events were well attended by 100+ people each time and we have sent over 500 emails in response to requests for our business plans and information on making a loan pledge. 
If you or anyone you know are considering making a pledge but either can’t make a payment yet or have some questions you want answered first, please let us know what you are thinking – you can send us a message here.

So far we have raised enough to get started on the new ventures and make a deposit on the premises but not enough to complete their purchase.  We are focusing the community funds on buying the shop first and then Elmswood House. If we can get past £350,000 we can buy the village shop and fund its purchase costs without seeking outside investment.  If this happens we can fund our working capital and the purchase of Elmswood from our business income and grants we have already secured – we would also continue to raise community loan pledges.  

We have decided to actively concentrate on community fund raising until the end of March, then if there is a shortfall in the funds to purchase the shop, to avoid delaying our progess we will have to turn to our corporate investors to finance the difference.  We will host another community event on the 20th of March (details to be announced soon) before making this decision.

Our community buying group scheme is launching in March to benefit our supporters first. We have given our 100+ loan pledgers 2 years free membership of our community buying group so we have enough members to launch a pilot scheme to give money off deals to just the people who have financially supported us.  Official launch will be 1st of May for the wider community.
We have launched our creative thinking sessions to involve local people in our strategy planning and business activities.  This Sunday we invited a small group of our supporters to Newhouse Farm to join us for the first of our community creative thinking sessions, you can read what happened here in this blog post. We will be running these sessions regularly to help us progress the venture by learning from our community and involving you in our business strategy planning.  These sessions are also the first stage to applying for a job or starting a business alongside us – it allows us to see people’s characters in action and find their hidden talents so it’s much more effective than judging people by their formal CV’s or business plans.
This website www.tywardreath.co.uk has also been created to share in one place the news and information about our community investment plans and social enterprise activities in the village.  Rather than sending out lots of emails we will regularly update this website, so keep checking back on here for news and when more local owners add their free listings to the business directory it will become a useful resource to find local suppliers of products and services.
Creating new jobs and business start-ups.  We are actively looking for talented people to work alongside us, if you take a look at the Opportunities page you will see the roles we are looking to fill.  In the next couple of months we will have income generating positions for at least 8 local people, so get in touch if you want to work with us.
Thanks again for all your support – Trudy Thompson and Josh Taylor

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