The Community Chest –  Shop for Stur is two years old

The Community Chest –  Shop for Stur is two years old

Congratulations to this small charity and its volunteers for setting up this unique interesting addition to the Town’s retail offer.

Sturminster Newton-Volunteer Fridat at the Community Chest 2

Its all about fun

Doesn’t time fly? The shop has been open for two years. Manned by volunteer staff more than ably managed by Cheryl Basten the shop is going from strength to strength. It has consistently made profits which it reinvests into the Town and continues to work with other community groups to help support our local community.

The shop’s profits are used to support improvements in the Towns infrastructure and community institutions. You can find a list of things that it has supported and invested in at the bottom of the article.

But more than investing in things the shop has become a focal point for people to gather and have a little bit of fun whilst repurposing reusing and recycling stuff that townfolk have decided they need to move on.

And boy have there been some things!

Early in our life we were ‘donated’ an old guitar. Turns out it was very valuable and our lady that spots these things, Margaret Anne took it to auction where it promptly raised over £3000.00. Shocked by this our staff decided to find the original donor (not difficult) and give them two thirds of the proceeds. The staff felt that this was the honourable thing to do. I would say we are not obliged to do this, once donated items become the property of the shop. Nor would we normally do this, after all it would makE life very difficult for us. We found a print of an old irish hunt that sold for £140.00 and more recently some beautiful jewellery that sold for near £300.00. The moral of the story is that you should make sure you know what you are giving away! Of course we’ve made some mistakes too. We were donated a huge (4 foot by 5 foot) oil by a named Italian painter. Sold for £30 on eBay it took us two weeks to wrap it and ship it at a cost of £40!

The shop is part of a charity known as SNEDSL. This not for profit Community Business Society has a similar shareholder structure to a private company which means that for £10 for a share a shareholder has a strong voice in how the money we raise is spent.

So what had SNEDSL been doing?

  • It has taken over and owns the Town web site and funds this site’s technical support to the tune of £700 per annum.
  • It has developed the site to include Unity magazine articles which are to be posted to the site every month
  • It has paid for the rebuilding of the “Who’s Who in Stur” document and also to put it online on the web site. The total cost of development and distribution will exceed £600.00. That said we mustn’t forget the efforts of Beth Fox and Liz Kannagara in actually doing the work of collating the entries, checking their accuracy and raising the basic data.
  • SNEDSL has supported the Town literary festival with a £500 donation last year and a further £500 this.
  • Working with Sturbiz it has helped pay for the planting (and the planters) that you now see outside several of the shops
  • It has paid for the pictures you see hanging in the now sadly defunct banks.
  • It has agreed to pay £2000 towards the development of the trail way entrance in the Station Road car park area. This development if and when it gets the council go ahead will see new entrance layouts, gates in the style of railways crossings, new information boards about the trail way and its history new lighting in keeping with its railway heritage


Sturminster Newton-The Community Chest 1

Our famous Manager Cheryl Basten getting to grips with her till

All of this leaves us with a surplus of funds and we need your mideas to keep us going. Remember the charity is focused on improving the economic infrastructure of the Town.

Ideas currently under consideration include;

  1. Additional hanging baskets on the bollards demarcating roadway from footway from the Exchange to the older town retail offer.
  2. Marketing materials aimed at promoting Sturminster as a centre from which visitors can travel the Blackmore Vale
  3. Putting together a Trades and services based in the local area (Carpenters, window cleaners, solicitors…) and also launching this on the web site

If you have some thoughts on areas of the Town we might improve for us and our visitors email Mike Woods on [email protected]