People power: the Clevedon Community Bookshop Co-operative

First published on the Antidote to gloom website

A new community run bookshop – the first of its kind in North Somerset – has opened in Clevedon.

 After the retirement of the owner of Clevedon’s only second-hand book shop in Copse Road, residents, members of the Clevedon Society of Friends and Transition Clevedon formed the Clevedon Community Bookshop Co-operative. 

Local residents flocked to the launch meeting of the new business buying £3,000 worth of shares and offering £7,900 in interest-free loans. The business has also been given £1,500 from Co-operative Action Ltd, taking their total to £12,400.

£20,000 is needed to renovate and refurbish the store. 

The Clevedon Mercury reports that members contacted the Plunkett Foundation, which supports such community initiatives and through the Co-operative Business Hub were offered the services of a member of staff from the Co-operative Development Agency in Bristol. 

For several months, members have worked with agency staff to register the co-operative with the Financial Services Authority and to develop a business and funding plan for the bookshop. 

Members have already spent £8,000 on buying around 8,000 books and shelving for the shop and it is ultimately hoped to stock around 16,000 titles. 

A prime mover is Angela Everitt who used to run a bookshop cafe in Wigtown – Scotland’s national booktown – in Dumfries and Galloway for 12 years. Ms Everitt, secretary of Clevedon Community Bookshop Co-operative, said: “It is intended that, as a social enterprise, the bookshop will be sustainable. It will generate turnover to cover ongoing costs such as rent, rates, stock purchase and heating and lighting. 

“To enhance turnover, books will also be sold on the internet as well as from the shop. Members of the co-operative, including the management group, will work in a voluntary capacity for and in the bookshop. Any surplus over and above ongoing costs will be ploughed back into the bookshop to further develop its stock and improve the shop.”

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