Fittleworth’s previous grocery shop and post office closed in 2011 and has been much missed. Villagers were concerned that the village lacked a hub and a place to meet and exchange news and information.
The first meeting to explore the possibility of introducing a community shop was held in January 2016. Following much research, consultation and fundraising, Fittleworth Stores opened just over two and half years from that first meeting.
We are situated in a brand new, purpose-built building at the heart of our village, adjacent to the Recreation Ground, Village School, Village Hall, Sports Pavilion and other village amenities. We are also close to the newly built children’s playground and youth facilities.
There are so many who have supported our community shop and café and to whom we owe a debt of thanks. This includes those who have bought shares in the shop, those who have organised or turned out to support the numerous fundraising events we have held and those local residents, business and landowners who have donated so generously to the project. We are also very grateful to the grant funders who have backed our project. Without all of this the shop and café would not have been possible.
We were delighted to receive a significant grant from the Sussex Downs & Coastal Plain LEADER, part of the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development, towards the build costs of our shop and café. We are also extremely grateful to our other grant funders who all contributed so generously towards the costs of the build and fit out of the shop and café. Our grant funders are as follows:
We were also supported by the Barlavington Estate who generously donated timber for the build.
Fittleworth Stores is a community owned and run business overseen by a Management Committee of local volunteers. Our Management Committee has Alison Welterveden as its Chair, Mick Foote as Vice-Chair and Treasurer and Shelagh Morgan as its Secretary. Richard Godfrey, Catherine Guyler, Sammi Leese and Sally Tanner are the other Committee members. The Management Committee is elected at our Annual General Meeting.
As a Community Benefit Society any profit not to be reinvested back into the business will be put back into the community. The purchase of shares in Fittleworth Stores gives members a right to vote in decisions relating to the shop and café and each member has one vote irrespective of the number of shares they hold. We have over 250 shareholders in the venture and we are always delighted to welcome more onboard. For information about shares and the application form, please click here. Every penny raised helps to ensure the continued success of the business.
Our mission statement
Our aim is to be a well-run, sustainable, successful and vibrant business, integrated within our community and able to respond to its needs. Community is at the heart of all that we do.
We have set ourselves a number of strategic aims to ensure that we meet our mission statement. These are:
- To have a happy, effective and confident workforce (both our volunteers and employees)
- To have appropriate staffing responding to a growing business and seasonality
- To ensure we offer a breadth of products and services to meet the needs of our diverse customer base
- To ensure that providing a warm and welcoming environment to all remains at the heart of what we do, delivering excellent customer service
- Internal processes
- To establish effective supporting processes and frequently review these to appropriately respond to external change and to ensure that we are continually improving
- To effectively communicate with all stakeholders (customers, volunteers, suppliers, employees, shareholders, investors, etc)
- To increase turnover to the optimal level for the store
- To generate a surplus in line with our Business Plan to build appropriate reserves to fund future asset replacement and other investment within the business with any additional surplus then being invested in the community