The aim of the Bythams Community Shop is to provide a local service for the villages of Castle Bytham and Little Bytham and their nearby parishes.
The main villages have only infrequent bus services to local towns. The surrounding smaller communities have even less access to public transport.
Before we opened the shop, the villages that comprise the Glenside News Parish magazine community in Lincolnshire and Clipsham in Rutland had journeys of more than 3 miles to the nearest shop and 10 miles to the nearest supermarket.
In December 2013 the only 2 shops serving the communities of Castle Bytham and Little Bytham and the adjacent hamlets closed. Within a short period a Steering Group (SG), formed by local people undertook a feasibility study of the merits of local community shops and possibility of identifying potential sites for such a shop. The average distance for the Bytham communities to the nearest small shops is a round trip 6 miles; and 20 miles to and from the nearest major urban shopping centres.
It was decided that an essential requirement of the project was to be able to draft a Business Plan. Following a costing and analysis of 9 possible potential sites the Steering Group decided that the project should consist of two phases; phase 1 was the acquisition and equipping of a suitable premises and phase 2 was a Business Plan for the operation and management of a community shop and cafe. The feasibility study indicated the best long term site option was a new venue more central to the main settlement areas of both villages offering off road parking.
It was also decided that the new community would allocate 2/3 of the available facility floor space to a shop and the remainder to a community cafe to reinforce the concept of it serving as a community hub. Throughout this process the Steering Group received support and guidance from the Plunkett Foundation, including numerous case studies of, and visits to, other community shops. Plunkett, Lincolnshire CVS and Lincolnshire County Council grant fund managers provided invaluable help with guidance on fund raising. The Steering Group registered the project as an Industrial and Provident Society (IPS Registration 32400R) – renamed “Community Benefit Society” in August 2014, and instigated a programme of fund raising for phase 1.
In 2017, following the community share issue, the SG became a Shop Management Committee, with AGMs and formal accounting procedures. Through careful planning and much hard work, the shop finally opened its doors on 1st June 2020.
We, the management team for the Bythams Community Shop, believe that the villages that we serve deserve a community spirit that comes from accessible and supported local resources. In Castle Bytham alone, we are fortunate to have two great pubs, a thriving village hall, a supported church, access to post office services and two complimentary shops. Not forgetting our exceptional Midsummer Festival & Bonfire Night that we all enjoy.
It is, however, only with your continued support as members of this community that we can assure you of such continued services.
Here’s a few words of introduction from each of our team, who willingly give their time and experience to continue to move such services forward and strengthen the position of the Bythams Shop in our community.
Stephen Barratt – our Chairperson
Having had a couple of decades working in the Retail Sector, both in leading people and in operational management, I have the opportunity to offer many of these experiences in my leadership of our shop.
I feel strongly for our shop’s purpose in our community and recognise the value that our services offer to the residents of the Bythams and the many surrounding villages.
I have had the privilege of living in Castle Bytham for 15-years with Rachael, my wife, and our two daughters.
Ian Dugmore – our Company Secretary
I served in the RAF for 34 years before retiring as an Air Commodore in 2009. As a Tornado Pilot, I was privileged to Command No 617 Squadron, the Dambusters, from 1995-1998. My last appointment was in Ministry of Defence as Director of Safety and Regulation. My first civilian appointment was Director of the UK Airprox Board, responsible for investigating “airmiss” incidents. In 2013 I became the Chief Executive of an independent confidential aviation safety reporting programme – The CHIRP Charitable Trust.
My wife Sue and I have lived in Castle Bytham since 2004.
Dominic Sale – our Treasurer
Having lived in Castle Bytham for over 30-years, I know and understand the value that a shop such as ours can bring to our community. As well as acting as Treasurer for the Community Shop, I have served on the CB Parish Council for 8-years.
Throughout my career I have redesigned and produced management accounts for SMEs and for larger businesses, such as Anglian Water. I am also highly experienced in month-end reporting, presenting robustly managed balance sheets and financial recommendations.
Amanda Coulton – Shop Manager
I’m a mother of three beautiful children (most of you will know who they are).
I have lived in Castle Bytham most of my life and am well known to the local community.
I have worked in many local establishments and I’m pleased to say that I now manage the Bythams Community Shop, managing and working alongside our brilliant volunteers.
Ingrid Goode – Supplier Sourcing and Shop Marketing
I am a self-employed designer, who has lived in Castle Bytham for 22 years with my husband Dave and our dog Gem, so I am passionate about our shop and its role within our community.
I joined the committee to bring a fresh outlook to the look & feel of the shop, in terms of appearance and products, making it more village friendly in style. This has been done at minimal cost, having secured resources free of charge from local suppliers.
I have also researched and sourced new local suppliers, enabling us to offer a broader range of quality local produce delivered at an improved margin.
I am experienced in social media and am rejuvenating our website, as well as our presence on Facebook & Instagram.
Janet Coates – Volunteering and Training
My role on the committee is to ensure that we have shifts covered by volunteers who are working hours that suit them. As well as this, I am responsible for ensuring that our processes are properly maintained so that I can build out proper training for new volunteers.
My background is within the service sector; education, training, customer experience and management. I have lived in Castle Bytham for 6 years.
Mike Brooman – Inventory and Electronic Point of Sale (ePos)
I have lived in Castle Bytham with my wife Samantha and our dog Monty for 5-years.
I sit on the Castle Bytham Parish Council, having served on it for 18 months. I’m also active in promoting Castle Bytham for the next round of Giga-fast Broadband.
My current role is as Head of Supply Chain for a London-based technology business. It is my experience in process managements and continuous improvement that will enable me to support our shop in developing our ordering, inventory control and systems usage.
Ray Keiff – Sytems Management
As a resident of Castle Bytham for 36 years, my wife Sue and I have taken an active interest in the community, being founder members of the Midsummer Fair committee in 1994, including our highly successful Bonfire Night celebrations.
During my career, I specialised in Retail Sales Technologies & Systems across a range of industries. These principles can be applied to the needs of our community shop.
I am keen to maximise our use of our systems, so that we may have a fully integrated, automated stock management system that allows us to value and account for our produce.
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