A Community Shop could not function at all if it was not for the volunteers. At present we have 41 people who give up some of their time to serve in the shop and thus ensure the continuing success of the business. All of them give customers a friendly greeting and the shop has become a real hub for members of the community to meet up and chat. Volunteers regularly say that they have got to know many more of their neighbours and fellow villagers since working in the shop and how much they have benefitted from the experience.

A weekly rota is put together by our "Rota Fairy" It consists of two hour shifts;some people just do one a week, some like to do two or more at different times of the week whereas others like to stay in the shop for a four hour double shift. Most of the time there will be two volunteers on duty at any one time, though as people grow in confidence many are happy to work in the shop on their own

We are always happy to hear from new volunteers who would be prepared to help staff the rota, to ensure that this essential part of the operation never misses a beat.  The more people who volunteer, the easier it becomes to share the duties across a 7-day rota.

The rota will require an early start to the day, to ensure that the Community Shop is open and ready for business by 8am; this requires a 7.30 start to sort out newspapers and get everything ready. Volunteers on duty at the end of the day also have various other duties to carry out so that the shop continues to run like clockwork, which it usually does! 

Full training will be provided, including how to handle the takings and operate the cash till, and what may seem daunting at first actually becomes a lot easier after some practice. New volunteers will always work alongside more experienced colleagues until they are comfortable in their role


If you do feel able to volunteer, and would like to contribute in this way, or if you feel you can be of assistance in any other way, please pop into the shop and make yourself known to us, or go to the contact page and call or send us a message. We would be delighted to hear from you, and we're certain that you won't regret it!

The portacabin has arrived!

Neil and GillMany thanks to everyone for turning out to welcome the new community shop this morning. Be sure to watch both ITV Westcountry and BBC Spotlight this evening, with more coverage on Radio Cornwall, Heart FM and in tomorrow's Cornish Guardian.

Far too many people to thank them all - but Dave, Neil, Dave, Ken and others all know who you are! From putting up the bunting, to restoring the stock-proof fencing, there were lots of very important "unseen" things on the to-do list.

Particular thanks to Sarah Beaumont for making the shop sign, to Audrey Cooke for the teas and coffees, and to Cornwall Councillor Stephen Rushworth and to North Cornwall MP Scott Mann for their mabyn shop 1

Amazing skill by the delivery driver to drop the portacabin in place.

st mabyn shop 2

A huge amount of work still to do. Target date for the Grand Official Opening is Monday 1st October.

St Mabyn’s community shop project took a huge stride forward last night (Tuesday) when the parish council agreed to facilitate the delivery of the portacabin, possibly as early as next week.

The parish council decision ensures that St Mabyn should never go without a shop. There will be no “gap” in trading after the current shop closes. The community shop steering committee is applying to the Post Office to offer counter services as quickly as possible. Apart from the Post Office, the new shop should be able to open immediately it is needed.

The parish council is also supporting this community initiative with sufficient working capital to help transform the portacabin – subject to sufficient volunteers to help get it into shape.

The shop steering committee is delighted with the parish council’s response, which helps maintain momentum for the project while the Community Benefit Society completes its formal registration procedures with the Financial Conduct Authority.

These procedures are expected to complete around the end of this month, which is when the CBS steering committee will be able to open its own bank account and start turning “pledges” into share capital.

It is not too late to be a shareholder, which gives you a vote in electing the shop management committee. Each share costs £10 but members of the society have only one vote, regardless of how many shares they have.

So watch out for the portacabin arriving on site – and for details about how volunteer carpenters, plumbers, electricians and decorators might be able to help. It is all going to start happening very soon!

Many thanks to Dave Masters for ordering the community shop portacabin - we expect it to be delivered on site on Tuesday 14th August.

It's an important day for the community shop project, as St Mabyn parish council meets this evening to consider if it can help the Community Benefit Society through the period while it waits for formal registration with the Financial Conduct Authority.

Without FCA registration, the CBS cannot open a bank account or raise money by issuing shares. FCA registration is now expected to complete around the end of August/early September.

The steering committee hopes the parish council can help, to ensure that St Mabyn is never without a shop. We are determined to ensure there is no gap in service.

Many residents have pledged to buy shares, and the project is well on the way to its £30,000 target. If all goes according to plan, and if the parish council agrees, the "pop up" shop portacabin could be on site next week.

There will then be a call for volunteers to help prepare the portacabin so that it is ready to open immediately it is needed.

The application forms are now in! The St Mabyn community shop project has taken the formal step to register with the Financial Conduct Authority. We cannot issue shares until registration is complete.

Our application is being "sponsored" by the Plunkett Foundation, whose model rules we are adopting.

Typically it takes six weeks for the registration process to complete. The application needed four "founding members" from the steering committee: they are Neil Embley, Henrietta McLachlan, David Bishop and myself (acting secretary.)

In due course the steering committee will become a significantly larger "management committee" - elected by members - which will in turn need to elect a chair, vice chair, secretary and treasurer. This needs to happen at an Annual General Meeting.

The steering committee wants this to happen as soon as possible, but right now the priority is to get a shop up and running. This will involve submitting a planning application for the portacabin, probably within the next few days.

If all goes well, it will probably be September before we ask people who have expressed an interest to convert their "pledges" into paid-for shares. But there could be activity on site before then, as we have reserved the portacabin and are currently working towards a delivery date in early August.

View the embedded image gallery online at:

These are the first pictures of the portacabin which will soon be St Mabyn’s new community shop. It could arrive on site, next to the village hall, during the first week in August.

The portacabin is second hand and, from the outside, looks a bit tired. But it is very sound, and in good heart, and with enough volunteers to help spruce it up and decorate it, the Community Benefit Society steering committee hopes to have it ready for opening before the existing shop closes.

Carpenters, plumbers, electricians and decorators of St Mabyn – now is the moment to come to the aid of your community!

The steering committee is determined to make sure that St Mabyn is not left without a shop at any time. If you would like to volunteer to help this community venture, in any way, please email me:

The extremely short timescale means that the practicalities of fitting out the new community shop and ordering stock – so as to welcome customers before the end of August – may have to take priority over some of the formal bureaucracy that goes with setting up a new business.

Viv Price, of the Plunkett Foundation, visited St Mabyn yesterday and warned us that completing all of the Financial Conduct Authority registration processes typically takes at least six weeks. This means we will probably not sell shares until September at the earliest.

So far, nearly 50 individuals have offered to become paid-up members of the community benefit society and we are, potentially, well on the way to raising the share capital we need.

We have also received more nominations for people to join the management committee. This is excellent news – nominations close today – and over the next few days we will be in touch with everyone who has indicated their interest and support. But please, at the moment, DO NOT PAY ANY MONEY TO ANYBODY! This is very important.

The steering committee meets this evening to consider issues like opening a bank account, but at the moment we do not have the structures in place to handle money. One of the reasons for considering a second hand portacabin is to keep start-up costs as low as possible.

The steering committee will also consider setting a target date for the community benefit society’s first Annual General Meeting. If you have indicated a willingness to buy shares, you will get several weeks’ notice of any “call for cash.”

We still also need to identify the solicitors and accountants we will need to ensure that we meet all of our statutory obligations (hint: if you are a solicitor or accountant, and might volunteer your skills, we would like to hear from you!)

We have also spoken with Cornwall Council’s planning department and are acting on advice, but we know we still have further work to do. The potential planning issues now also involve a possible car park, for the school, which would be next to the shop, behind the village hall. It is obviously sensible to try to develop a co-ordinated approach and we want to submit a planning application as soon as we can.

This means it is possible that the portacabin might be moved, after the new shop has opened. At the moment we do not have all the information we need, but we do have the backing of the St Mabyn parish council to use the land next to the village hall.

The most important issue is that St Mabyn is never left without a shop. There will be more news tomorrow.

This was the old school dinner hut, previously one of St Mabyn's two petrol stations! Soon it will be the site of St Mabyn's new community shop.

St Mabyn once had no fewer than 14 shops, two petrol stations, a blacksmith’s and an abattoir. Britain’s first supermarket opened in 1964 – and everything changed.

The proposed closure of the sole remaining shop and Post Office would effectively draw a line under that period of history during which St Mabyn could reasonably be described as a sustainable local community.

Instead, the village would more accurately resemble a dormitory, with an extremely high percentage of elderly residents dependent on private transport.

Research by Lloyds Bank suggests that proximity to a good retail outlet contributes 12% of residential property values. So a property which today has a market value of £250,000 could lose £30,000 in value if St Mabyn is left with no shop.

Village shops are closing at the rate of 400 year. It is simply not possible for small retailers to realise the same economies of scale as supermarkets, or to compete on price or choice.

Where village shops can compete, however, is convenience – particularly in relation to fresh foods such as bread, home-baked cakes, milk, vegetables etc.

But a village shop can only offer its “convenience” if it is actually open, and private shopkeepers often report that they have to work such long hours that their salaries are below the minimum wage. 22% of rural shopkeepers say they work more than 70 hours per week.

Community-owned shops usually rely on significant voluntary effort to help keep down costs. If you would like to help, please email me: