BCS 2016

BCS 2016
Wassailing - January 2016

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?