Community bookshop receives £150,000 grant to grow

Crediton Community Bookshop, the only independent bookshop in Mid-Devon and community owned since 2013, has just announced the award of a £150,000 grant by Power to Change, the organisation set up to grow and support community businesses in England.

This prestigious award will allow the shop to move from its present restricted quarters to larger, more central premises at 21 High Street, Crediton. Here the Crediton Community Bookshop team intend to develop the enterprise as a community resource including an event space for literary and arts exhibitions, and a variety of workshops.

Dee Lalljee, who has managed the shop for the past three years and wrote the proposal, is understandably delighted. “Power to Change’s recognition of our work, especially the outreach we provide each year to some 3,000 school children and the many opportunities we offer to volunteers of all ages, is a wonderful vote of confidence,” she said.

“We’ve been conscious for many months that our present shop is too small. This grant provides us with the opportunity to expand both our bookshop and event programme, and to develop the enterprise as a community hub offering a broader range of services, and partnering with other enterprises to enrich the town and the lives of Mid Devon families.

“That we thrive at a time when so many bookshops have closed their shutters is entirely due to the support we’ve received from the local community. We see it as our mission to serve and support that community in every way we can.”

David Chater, Head of Community Business Funds at Power to Change, said “We believe putting business in community hands transforms places. This grant will help Crediton Community Bookshop stand on its own feet and expand its much needed range of services for local people.”

One thing’s already clear. With more than a tonne of books to move (plus the shelves to put them in!), Dee’s volunteers will have their hands full. “We couldn’t operate without such a fantastic team of volunteers who help in a variety of critical ways – serving on our Committee, helping at the shop, running our schools outreach services, staffing events with other organisations, marketing and development, and now packing 180 crates of books! We’d be lost without them.”

The move will take place in September, and the shop will reopen for business at its new location on September 24.

To keep up-to-date with events and developments www.creditoncommunitybookshop.co.uk or follow on facebook. Like to volunteer? Watch for notices in the window at 21 High Street, Crediton.