BCS 2016

BCS 2016
Wassailing - January 2016

Thursday, 23 February 2017


Two new toddler groups have started in the Village Hall. On Mondays, 10 to 11 am, Art Haus offers fun painting and craft activities for under-fives. A trial session is £3.

The toddler group that used to meet on Mondays has now re-launched with a Thursday session. See news page for both stories.

Wednesday, 20 January 2016


The meeting to discuss proposals to put a Post Office Local into the Village Stores will take place at the Village Hall on Tuesday February 2nd at 7 pm. There will be a chance to debate the issues before voting by secret ballot. The results will be posted on the Brightwell Website later in the evening; they will also be available on the noticeboard outside the Village Hall, and in the shop the next day.

Meanwhile, check out the website news pages for the latest in the debate...http://www.brightwellcumsotwell.co.uk/news_item.php?wnID=10436

Wednesday, 9 December 2015


Celia Collett, Chairman of the Village Stores, has asked for the following statement to be put on the Brightwell Website:

'Due to the great interest shown at the recent village meeting to discuss the future of the Post Office Service in the village., the shopManagement Committee would like to remind all villagers that they can have a vote if they are members of the Village Community Shop.

We would like you to take up this opportunity because early in the New Year we will be delivering a voting form to all members. Also, theshop is run for community benefit and which ever way the vote goes we want to ensure that as many members as possible are involved in ensuring the shop has a sustainable future for all of us to enjoy.

To become a member all you need to do is give a minimum donation of £1, this entitles you to one vote per household. We need your name, address plus e-mail address (only to be used by the shop), we will then issue you a membership certificate. Apply in the shop or e-mailbrightwellshop@btconnect.com'

Sunday, 6 December 2015


May I, as chairman of the original Shop Committee charged with raising the funds and building the Village Stores and first chairman of the Management Committee, correct a statement in the Wallingford Herald of 2 December 2015 and also comment on Garry McCracken's letter to you?

The accounts to the end of 2014, circulated at the AGM, show that, to date, a total of £225,384 has been raised – not the £150,000 mentioned in the article – largely as the result of the efforts of a small fundraising group headed by David   Dobbin.  They also show that the shop is now operating at a level to just cover its cash outgoings but not sufficient to provide for depreciation, the replacement of shopfittings nor to put anything aside for a “rainy day”.

Like Garry, I welcome the opportunity for a vote by members but they must have the information on which to make an informed decision.  For instance, it is a simple calculation to see that it would cost in wages alone (at the national minimum wage of £6.70 an hour) some £16,200 a year to pay staff to work the hours quoted at the recent open meeting.  What commission would the shop receive on sales to offset this?  I am told that the Post Office has calculated, on present sales, about £3,000 to £5,000 a year; clearly it is not commercially sensible to take on a full service Post Office on these terms.  We certainly should be pushing hard for a much reduced number of hours, which is what the village have been used to anyway.  What also would the shop have to pay towards the alterations?  There are many unanswered questions.

On the practical side, we heard vividly at the open meeting from both Post Office staff and shop volunteers about the difficulties of operating the Post Office counter next to the shop counter.  Personally, I was in a line of five at the Post Office on Monday which has only served to emphasise the points they made.

I know that a large number of those who have helped to create, and continue to support the shop as volunteers, would like to have a Post Office in the village – but not necessarily in the shop.  Like them, I would welcome an assurance from the current Management Committee that it will not enter into any contract with the Post Office which would put the shop at risk either practically or financially.

It would be tragic to lose a shop, which is developing so well under Margot and Mandy and their volunteers and for which we fought so hard, for the sake of retaining in the shop a full-service Post Office which makes no sense either operationally or financially.

Yours faithfully

Jim Sanger

PS.  What about adding a franking machine to Garry's list of services?

Thursday, 26 November 2015


Garry McCracken kicked off this discussion after Tuesday's meeting with the post below... Feel free to comment here, or on the BCS Facebook page...

Like most villagers I am strongly in favour of having a village postoffice. I recognise the tremendous effort which the shop committee has made to obtain a fair offer from the PO plc. They thoroughly deserve our thanks both for that and for the success for the shop as it now works. It is therefore with considerable reluctance that I am going to vote against acceptance of the present PO offer. My arguments are;

(i) The addition of a PO counter will seriously overcrowd the shop at busy times. It will make difficulties both for shop staff and customers; It may discourage our present volunteers.
(ii) The PO equipment will take up valuable space which is currently used to display shop goods. 
(iii) The hours are unreasonably long for the PO operators and it is unlikely that we will be able to find people (volunteers or employees) who will be prepared to take these positions. At the recent village meeting the PO representatives were asked about these hours which appeared to be determined by a completely arbitrary model about which they are unreasonably inflexible. 
(iv) It is unlikely that the movement of the PO a few yards from its present position into the shop will significantly increase shop takings. The PO plc. are offering nothing for salaries of the PO employees and no rent for the space the PO will take up. The estimated commission on PO takings has not been published but is likely to be significantly less than the cost of the extra salaries.

For all these reasons we should reject the offer. At the same time we should investigate how we could make arrangements to provide at least some of the services which the PO at present provides. Some examples are
a. Investigate the the installation of an ATM. As shop takings can be banked in an ATM this makes banking more convenient for the shop and could reduce banking fees.
b. Arrange to provide a “cash -back” service from the till.
c. Insist on getting stamps for sale in the shop. This is done in some other shops. Provide padded envelopes. paper etc.
d. Offer advice to pensioners who wish to withdraw their pension in cash on how to have a simple building society account into which their pension could be paid which then could withdrawn from the ATM. Alternatively provide transport for pensioners to Wallingford to collect pensions once a week.

More suggestions on how to compensate for the potential loss of the post office are solicited.

Garry McCracken.