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  • katherinekowalski

Downderry Community Shop project gets off the ground

Following the very well-attended community meeting on 17 July 2023, and a successful parish-wide survey, the project to explore the potential for creating a community shop in Downderry has begun.

The community survey, issued to households across Deviock parish, and available online via DaSRA, has already received 239 responses, with virtually unanimous support for setting up a community-run shop.

Survey results summary

The survey asked residents a number of questions to identify appetite and support for creating a community-run shop. Full survey results will be shared here on the website shortly. A summary of early results is as follows:

  • 57% said they would use a community shop at least weekly

  • 14% said they would spend at least £40 per shopping trip, 20% said at least £30 and 50% said at least £20

  • The most popular products requested include dairy, bakery, fruit and veg, local produce, deli, general groceries and confectionery

  • Additional shop services proved popular with respondents - 90% said they would use a post office facility and 34% suggested a tea/coffee shop

The survey also highlighted broad support for being involved in the development of a community shop, with 40% interested in buying shares, 45% saying they would make a donation, 25% interested in helping with fundraising and 13% interested in joining a planning group.

The steering group

Survey respondents who said they would be interested in joining a planning group were invited to attend a meeting on Monday 31 July 2023 at St Nicolas Church.

At this meeting, chaired by Laura Done, DaSRA, and facilitated by Ann Vandermeulen, Downderry resident and Development Manager for the Federation of Small Businesses, a steering group was established to drive forward the community shop project.

The steering group, formed of local residents with a wide range of complementary skills in planning, construction, business administration, marketing, community relations, will meet weekly to begin with, to get the project off the ground swiftly and efficiently.

What happens next?

First, the steering group will take forward the following priorities to establish the viability of the project:

  • Identifying a site

  • Developing a business plan

  • Establishing channels of communication

  • Exploring business development support and funding options.

Should this initial work prove the business case for a community shop, the steering group will lead the community in making it happen.

Experience drawn from St Germans, and other community shop projects elsewhere in Cornwall and beyond, suggest it could take up to a year to get to the stage of opening the shop doors, although it is hoped this could happen sooner, by leaning on expertise from The Plunkett Foundation and other community development resources.

Where can I find out more?

The steering group has set up a Facebook group that will be kept frequently updated with news. Please request to join the group at

This website will become the main hub for information about the project, where you can find the latest news, updates from the steering group meetings, and where you can submit ideas.

There will also be more community events in the coming months to share project progress, consult and involve as many people in the community as possible at each stage, and to keep discussion flowing.

The community survey will remain available on the DaSRA website for those who have not yet had a chance to contribute.

To find out more in general about community shops and how they work, the Plunkett Foundation has an excellent guide.

I’d like to be involved, who should I contact?

You can contact the steering group via the Facebook group or via email at:

The steering group roles and members are as follows:

Chair: Tim Pullin

Vice Chair: Nigel Jones

Secretary: Janet Shipman

Treasurer: Dave Twist / Diana Twist

Premises and planning: Terry Clarke, Jem Hall, Jim Lockyer

Communications, PR and social media: Katherine Kowalski

Governance: Dave Gatland

Retail: Dave Twist

Health and Safety Nigel Jones

Fundraising: Tim Pullin

Volunteers: Katherine Kowalski

Thank you

The steering group would like to thank DaSRA, and particularly Laura Done, for their involvement so far in bringing the community together to explore and discuss the idea of a community shop in Downderry.

Thanks go also to Marcus Kern, for putting together the community survey, and to Ann Vandermeulen for her expertise and guidance on setting up the steering group.

To everyone in the community who has attended a meeting, responded to the survey, and shared ideas so positively, and to those who want to but who have not yet had a chance – thank you – your continued involvement will be crucial to the success of this project. Please join the Facebook group and keep sharing your ideas.


For more information / media enquiries please contact:

Katherine Kowalski / 07866 630569

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