Gower residents raise £105,000 to reopen shop and post office as community co-operative Residents in the Gower village of Reynoldston are celebrating raising £105,000 through a community share offer to buy the only shop and Post Office in the village. On Friday 24 June Reynoldston residents gathered to watch the village’s oldest resident, 92-year-old Alan Bevan, cut the ribbon to officially open the enterprise, which marked the culmination of over a year of campaigning, fundraising, and hard work to guarantee the future of the shop, which offers banking, travel and insurance services on top of essential goods. Reynoldston Post Office and shop had been on the market for over two years without attracting a buyer. In 2015 the then post mistress served notice to the Reynoldston Community Council that she intended to close the post office at the end of the year. In recognition of the importance of the post office to the village and the surrounding communities, a small start-up team was formed and, with Plunkett Foundation’s help, began a community consultation exercise to establish whether or not the community supported a plan to safeguard the future of the shop and post office. One of the key drivers behind saving the shop was the desire to provide a welcoming community hub for the village, to reduce social isolation and give general support to residents. With the unanimous support of nearly 200 community members, the project began in earnest. Donna Smith, Frontline Project Manager, said: “We’ve been supporting the community from the early stages, and we’ve helped them to set up a community benefit society using our model rules*, which have been developed specially for community shops. We’re absolutely delighted that the community has been able to raise the funds and re-open this much-loved community asset.” Laurence Carpanini, from the community shop’s management committee, said: “After nearly 12 months of collaboration and hard work, we’re delighted that we’ve completed the purchase of Reynoldston Post Office. When we established the management committee, we had little idea of what was ahead of us, but with the hard work of the community, and the help and guidance from Plunkett, we’ve come a long way. “The primary objectives of the management committee were to secure the future of the last community post office in South Gower, whilst retaining the shop as an essential community amenity in an age when such businesses are becoming more and more scarce, and I am pleased to say that we have met both of these objectives.” The facts: • 183 people from Reynoldston and the surrounding community invested in the community benefit society• Just over £105,000 was invested, which was used to purchase the building and to cover legal and conveyancing fees• In addition to investment capital, the project was awarded and received grants from a number of agencies, and received donations from the Methodist Chapel and the Reynoldston Society. This money will be used to refurbish the shop and to cover ongoing expenses. Read full coverage of the opening in the South Wales Evening Post here. For more information about the project visit http://www.reynoldstoncommunityshop.wales/ *Plunkett Foundation members benefit from a discounted rate when registering as a Community Benefit Society using our model rules – members pay £310, compared with the non-discounted rate of £570. However, please do note that if you’d like to make any changes to the Model Rules that this will incur additional costs.