Nine Important Things: Update, 19 July 2013

The community bookshop campaign is gathering momentum, and as the summer kicks in we thought you would like an update, especially as so many wonderful people have been involved. A lot has happened since the public meeting in March backed the bookshop idea, and we need your help as we build up to our launch. Join us: we are now a core group of 9 or 10 people with many talents and enthusiasms and some great pro-bono legal advice, but there is a large amount to do and we want to open in time for Christmas – what can possibly go wrong?!

So here are nine important things:

  1. We have just been awarded a grant of £ 4,200 from Wandsworth Council’s Big Society Fund, which was kindly endorsed by Cllr Peter Dawson, and Diana Edmonds of GLL. It will help us to adapt the library building to house our bookshop-with-added-value, and to register our legal status.
  2. Last week we submitted our draft business plan, financial projections, vision statement and other stuff to the Cooperative Enterprise Hub in the hope that they will help to move us swiftly to registration as a nonprofit cooperative for the benefit of the community. We will be owned by everyone who buys a share, and we intend to issue shares in September. If enough people invest, this will raise our start-up capital. You won´t make money but you will make a professionally-run bookshop with lots of lovely events and community activities!
  3. Thanks and good luck to Michael Gibbs from Bolingbroke Books, now sadly closing down after over 30 years. His support has been so much appreciated and we will not lose touch.
  4. Thanks and welcome to all those who signed up to support us at our stall at the Northcote Road Summer Fete.  What a hot and intoxicating – or intoxicated – event the fete was. Our seven authors were great, and thanks to them all too: Caroline Lawrence, Samantha Hepburn, Sophia Bennett, Seth Hunter, Marion Molteno, Paul Ekins and Richard Lawrence.
  5. Very important bit: we now have almost 400 supporters, but we don’t know much about them! Can you drop us a line to tell us a bit about yourself, including any skills or experience that you have that might be helpful? We would really appreciate your active involvement just at the moment, even if we can just turn to you for a word of advice on a subject you know well. This might be bookselling, publishing, the arts, IT, communications, retail, fund raising, teaching, or good ideas for events for children. Just plain old enthusiasm and interest is also fine. Just a few hours a week will make all the difference. Remember we intend to hold literary events, talks and workshops too so you can log your interest in helping with those in the future too.
  6. Even if you can´t offer us your time, please start thinking about how you can help maximise the sales of our community shares, when the time comes. You, your children, friends, and relatives can not only buy shares but help to spread the word. Our fund-raisers would be delighted to hear from you if you have contacts with corporate donors or foundations who might want to support this venture. Email us at northcotebooks@gmail.com
  7. Two current priorities for volunteers: First and crucially, we are particularly looking for a new treasurer, as the old one has sadly moved away from London. It’s a great opportunity for someone who would like to apply their financial expertise to a start-up situation. We will rely on your oversight to ensure our business plan is a sensible one; you will have a key role in the share offering; and we will need you to sign off on our accounts.
  8. Secondly, communications/journalists/PR people are urgently needed for our comms group so we can start to build up awareness of our forthcoming share issue. This includes of course people who enjoy working with social media and websites. We have a website but we need someone local who can help us keep it fresh, up-to-date and well designed.
  9. Finally, what’s in a name? Much wrangling in the marsh……we want to be sure that we have the right name for the bookshop, and we want you to have your say. Please go to: http://www.northcotebooks.com/2013/07/03/help-us-name-the-bookshop/ and vote.

That´s all for now. Next time: a survey!