The George   George AI
From this.... to this?

What happens next to Winsham Shop & Post Office now depends on you-the residents of Winsham, and  planning approval by SSDC.

The George Update-2nd December , 2017

AGM Poster


Hopefully the date is already highlighted in your diary, but here is a reminder that the Village Shop Annual General Meeting will take place on Wednesday 13th December - 6:30pm - in the Jubilee Hall.

All Shareholders, including those of you who have applied for Community Shares but have not yet committed, are invited to attend to hear an update on the past year's performance and to discuss future plans including the current situation with "The George" project. We value your thoughts and suggestions.

The meeting will be followed, at approximately 7:30pm, with a party for all Shareholders, Shop Volunteers and Staff to say a huge thank you for your continued support.

The George Update 17/11/17 - YOUR HELP NEEDED - SEE BELOW 

 There has been lots happening with our project to buy The George as the new location for our community shop and Post Office 

 Community Share Issue to raise funds needed

 Our community share issue is open and proving popular (minimum£500 investment). Investors have until 30th November to get their application forms (CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD COPY) . Our target is £350,000 and we want as many of our community who are able to get involved. Many may  benefit from the Social Investment Tax Relief scheme which is applicable. We are currently approaching £200,000 worth of shares being applied for so far, but still have more pledges which are due to come in and we welcome any newcomers to this project.

 If you want to know more please ask at shop or contact us on 

Change of use planning application- SOME PRACTICAL HELP IS NEEDED

There has been a lot of work going on behind the scenes and we owe a big thank you to Rod Wells who is coordinating our change of use application which we are confident that we will shortly be submitting.

In summary :

We have:

  • Completed the structural survey, and there are no concerns
  • Produced detailed existing and new plans of the building
  • Met with Post Office and understood their requirements for new fortress 
  • Met with the council planning team and highways for pre-application advice to ensure that our application stands the greatest chance of succeeding first time . 

From these discussions we know that our application will go  for approval to the Area West Somerset planning committee, on which 16 councillors sit.  We will advise you when this meeting will take place.

 We have been advised that highways will be an issue, due to where The George is located .We believe it is no better or worse than our existing location and that there will be minimal impacts due to change and that the impact due to deliveries to the shop will be significantly improved as lorries currently stop outside shop on Church St and will now be off the main road. We know from highways that there have been no significant accidents in this area to date, which is in our favour.

 However, we have been advised that evidence of traffic (both vehicles and pedestrians ) activity will help present our case . To do this we need your help 


 On Friday 1st December we propose to record all traffic and parking movements around the existing Shop and The George to provide facts about what is actually happening. 

 To do this we need a team of volunteers to do maximum 1 hour stint to record data and also volunteers to keep those outside supplied with hot drinks .

 We are looking to have a team of two covering the shop opening hours: 11 hours from 7am - 6pm ( changing on the hour) so we need a lot of help. 

 Kate Fox will be assisting us in coordinating a rota so either see Kate or contact us on saying when you could help

 Many thanks in anticipation of your support 

 Winsham Shop Management Committee 


Progress Report- 26th October

On Wednesday 25th October all Winsham shop shareholders and pledgers to buy The George

as the new location for Winsham Shop & Post Office, were invited to a meeting . The purpose of

the meeting was to launch the Prospectus for the share issue to raise the funds to purchase The

George and share the business plan.

The meeting was well attended and very positive. We were able to share the extremely good

 news that  HMRC have confirmed that our community share issue will be eligible for social

investment tax relief status which provides significant benefits for our investors. 

 In order to create the funds for Winsham Shop Limited to purchase The George there will be a

 one off opportunity to buy COMMUNITY SHARES with a minimum purchase of £500 .Click

 HERE for the link  to the Prospectus which explains terms & conditions . 

 Community Share offer closes on 30 November 2017 with goal to raise £350,000

 If you have not pledged support to date and would like to know more please contact us on



However, it is our objective for as many of our community to become members of Winsham

Shop Limited and have a say in the future of the shop. If you want to become part of Winsham

Shop Limited and show your support you can buy one or more £10 MEMBERSHIP SHARES

which entitles you to attend the general meetings (Next Meeting Wednesday 13th December

-Annual General Meeting).

Please note these shares are non-refundable, no dividend is due and they cannot be sold . 

 Please find link to membership application form  

 Winsham Shop Management Committee 


Application Form for Winsham Shop Ltd Membership Shares





Progress Report- 8th September



Shop Prog

18th August 2017

The good news this week is that, with thanks to funding from Winsham Parish Council, the building survey has been completed on The George.  The even better news is that there are no major concerns; this gives us confidence when our purchase goes ahead.

The building survey is a key part of the ‘change of use’ application, which is coming together with all the various inputs. We have already had a very positive meeting in the last week with a highways consultant to advise us on the issues and options. We are meeting this week with South Somerset District Council Traffic Engineer to come up with a plan as to how we can make the roads of the parish safer generally.  We will, of course, attempt to ensure time and focus is specifically given to what we can do to improve the safety around ‘The George’. 

We are still on track to submit our change of use application in September.”

Winsham Shop Management Committee & Kate Fox

 Previously: 11th August 2017

It’s all steam ahead as we plan for the move of the shop and Post Office to The George (subject to change of use being granted).

Last week we had an extremely positive meeting with the area Post Office Management to share our plans to move to The George. They were very supportive and we leant that we as a community Post Office are eligible to apply for a grant of up to £10,000 which is very good news.

The deadline for this grant application is the end of September and we will be applying for it to cover all the costs associated with the move to The George, including the creation of a new secure fortress, as well as new signage ,which even comes in format suited to listed buildings. Hinton St George have just a new one put into their shop for those interested in popping in and seeing what it looks like.  

As many of you already know we are extremely lucky to have Kate Fox as our Postmistress and she alone runs the Post Office in Winsham. This is separate to the management of the shop whose role is to provide a location for the Post Office to operate in, with 23.5 hours per week open to Customers .

To put things in perspective our neighbours in Thorncombe have to rely on an outreach service which has not been available for several weeks and when it is available, offers only 4 hours service a week to the village.

Whilst Kate is not able to offer the full range of Post office services (down to Post Office policy and not Kate) she is able to assist in all sorts of ways

Did you know for instance that you can use Post Office as cash point with just your debit card (up to your card limit), deposit cash and cheques and get Euros on demand without needing to order?

Please do everything you can to support this vital resource in our village to stay in our village

Things are going well, but could always be better, please remember it really is a case of use it or lose it as many villages have already have done

Winsham Shop Management Committee & Kate Fox

 Previously: 4th August 2017

Strong Support for Winsham Shop and Post Office move to The George from our MP:

 This week Marcus Fysh, our local MP  met with Denis McCallum, Winsham Shop management committee chairman and gave his overwhelming support to our community shop move . Not only that but he has gone further and written to the Chief Executive of South Somerset Council and asked him to grant change of use for The George as our proposed new location , as he believes in  'keeping a small shop in the village is essential to the local community' .

 Granting change of use is obviously not a given, but this letter does demonstrates the strong support of  our MP. This is in addition to strong demonstrations of support from our local & district councillors, our very own parish council and all of you. 

 The change of use application is on track to be submitted for early September and as part of this process a  pre application meeting is taking place with Highways in next week . 

 In the meantime if anyone has any questions please contact us via email :

 Winsham Shop Management Committee 


Previously:27th July 2017

Fantastic News 

 Based on the pledges promised so far it looks like we are going to be able to fund the purchase of The George as the new location for our shop and Post Office (subject to change of use being granted by South Somerset District Council).  Timing is likely to be mid 2018  and in the meantime a new tenant will move into The George .

There is a lot to do to make this happen . Whilst it is great news that we believe can fund this purchase, it is down to all of us to ensure the long term viability of a shop in our village by choosing to shop in the village when you can. Those that have pledged money have to be convinced that the new shop &kitchen will be supported  and  will be a safe bet for their money. This will happen if all of us buy just a little more at the shop to increase its turnover and profitability.

 Remember no shop in Winsham means an 8 mile round trip to Chard - costly in time and money!  

 Please remember that the money to buy The George is not yet in the bank and we all have a role to play to make this happen by choosing to support  

 Please do what you can today and everyday and ensure your shop is here to stay .

 If anyone would still like to pledge please see link for details below - its not too late . 

Winsham Shop Management Committee 


Future of Winsham Shop & Post office- 22nd July 2017 - Update

The news just gets better . We are now so very close to meeting our £300,000 target to be able to fund The George, as a new location for our community shop, that we are confident with your help we can make this happen.


Thank you for your support so far and ask those who would like to support to get those final pledges in. Click HERE to access the downloadable Pledge Form


Our attention will now focus on our change of use application for The George to become  a commercial building, as this is our other major pre requisite to buy .


Our plan is to now use the upstairs for commercial rental rather than residential, due to level of investment required to meet building control regulations.


Our aim is to take full advantage of the pre-planning advice available to us from our council in the coming weeks and look to get our change of use application in to  South Somerset District Council by September .


If anyone has any questions please contact us on


In the meantime please find a link to Plunkett's latest report which makes interesting reading regarding the 348 community shops that now thriving in the UK. Click HERE.


Winsham shop management committee

Previously-15th July

As the deadline for loan pledges towards buying “The George” as the location for Winsham Shop & Post Office approaches, we are delighted to share that we are making excellent progress.

Over £250,000 pledged thus far in just two weeks towards our target of £300,000.

This is fantastic news and gives us the confidence that we can succeed and make this project a reality

We still need your assistance in any way you are able to help us reach this target.

 Please do not wait until it is too late if you want to support the shop.

-        Please get your pledge forms in ASAP (Click HERE) Please note the minimum investment on which interest is paid is £500

-        If you cannot invest this much then please buy a share or shares in £10 multiples which is a donation to the shop reserves. Buying shares  shows your support for the shop and means you have a say in how the shop is run at the Annual General Meeting  (application forms available in the shop)

A big thank you

To all of you who have shown your support in all sorts of different ways, from signing our petition, putting a few quid in our donation box, shopping a little more with us when you can, and to those who have pledged funds to invest in purchasing The George.

We greatly appreciate all the efforts made by all our customers and supporters

We feel it is essential to keep the shop in the heart of the village and we hope to share further news with you over the coming weeks.

If you have any questions please ask in the shop or contact us at:


Winsham Shop Management Committee

 Update 7th July 
The proposal to buy The George is gaining momentum and support with 31 households and 4 Winsham supporters pledging to date has brought the total to £130,000 in the first week.

 This is good news, ahead of what we had in place for The Bell project after the same amount of time, but we still have a long way to-go towards our £300,000 target .

 In addition on 5th July we gained the support of our Parish Council for this proposal and funding towards supporting our ‘change of use' application

 However, as our deadline of 15th July for pledges looms we still have lots of opportunity for more support in a village with over 350 households who will all benefit from having a shop.

 No one said this was going to be easy.

One of the questions some are asking is what would be the situation if our bid to buy 'The George' was not to succeed.

It is a good question, but one to which we cannot know the answer. It is clear that nearly everyone wants a village shop and post office, but just wanting is not enough.

The reality is that the current community shop model is losing money. Furthermore there is a 14% rent increase due in January, 2018, increased electricity costs and increased wage costs due to the Government living wage policy, with no real prospect of increasing the  overall turnover from a location that is too small and badly ventilated. The situation does not look good.

There is also a real possibility of the lease not being renewed in 2019 due to the noise and vibration problems created by the essential refrigeration services.

There are no other locations in prospect & no other properties, or suitable land on which a shop might be built has been offered to us to buy.

It has been implied by some that there must be another way, but what?

We have already looked at taking as much cost out as possible out of the way we operate. In January 2017 we reduced our opening hours by 2.5 hours a week, but how far do we go until we start losing turnover and losing customers? 

 It is our community shop and we want to solve this problem together. We invite those who believe they have a different solution to come forward and share with us how it can be done.

 The questions to be addressed in this solution are:

·      Where can we locate the shop?

·      How much will it cost to create?

·      How will it be funded?

·      What will be the turnover, costs and opening hours? 


We, the Shop Management Committee have done our utmost to come up with the best solution we can to change our model and become profitable and we seek your support for this proposal. However, we can only do it with your support  and communicate the  seriousness of the situation of why things have to change.

 Do not wait until it is too late. It is your shop in your village and it is your choice how you contribute to solving our collective problem.

n the meantime if anyone wishes to discuss further please contact us on and refer to detailed proposal on below link .

 Please can all pledges be in by 15th July. Please note there will be no decision to finalise purchase of The George without the involvement of all investors and change of use being in place

 We appreciate that not everybody has got spare cash, but all our customers are valued. Please show your support in other ways such as signing our petition in the shop or volunteering your time to further reduce our costs.

 Winsham Shop Management Committee


Previously (3rd July, 2017)
Most will know that, unexpectedly, The George, in Back Street, has become available to the village shop and post-office to  buy.

The search for a new home for the shop and post office has been ongoing for several months , following the Bell project being unable to proceed. For those who are new to this, the need to move is motivated by the existing premises, after serving the village as a shop for over one hundred and seventy years, being no longer fit for that purpose- problems arising mainly from the  need for a large refrigeration capacity, and rising rent costs. 

Every possibility for a new location has been explored. For example there had been informal discussions with the Jubilee Hall about the practicality of sharing the location. These came to an end when it was agreed that it could not be viable-as much on the grounds of access and cost, as well as other considerations.

The construction of a new building was also discussed, but land was not available, and, anyway, costs were likely to make the idea untenable. Other possibilities were also considered, but none were, eventually, possible.

No stone has been left  unturned, and we are now facing a serious risk of losing the shop, if we cannot find a suitable solution.

Many people took the opportunity to see  The George  over the weekend of July 1st. The general consensus seems to share the opinion of the Winsham Shop and Post Office management  that it  offers very suitable accommodation with very little amendment, as it stands. The room for expansion, including an inside area for a small cafe, which in fine weather could easily expand outside around the Market Cross was also found to be exciting.

For this to happen it will be necessary to raise approximately £300,000 from the people of Winsham-but not as donations-as an investment. The detail of this is summarised in the information below. However for the project to continue it is necessary to establish how much support can be expected, hence the idea of 'pledges' similar to the idea which made the purchase of  'The Bell' a possibility.

After reading the information below, the management of Winsham Shop and Post Office are asking readers to complete the down-loadable Pledge form and return it to them as soon as possible, and not later than the 15th July. Only then will we know that the project has a realistic prospect of proceeding further.

£300,000 is a considerable sum , but it is secured by the purchase  of a substantial property which is likely to grow in value as the years go by. It  is possible that in the event of a modest short-fall in the amount from pledges, this could be made up from a loan, but we wish to avoid this if possible.

The pledges are , of course, not binding. However it is important that they are made in a serious manner. It is important also that in making a pledge that no-one seriously over-extends themselves in a financial sense, and if in doubt, professional advice should be sought. In the event that the project proceeds,  the funds are likely to be needed in the Autumn. Prior to that all the necessary legal documentation will be provided  to prospective investors.

The months ahead, if the level of 'pledges' enables the project to proceed,  the work will be considerable for the shop and post -office management , with many administrative hurdles and costs to be overcome, not least 'change -of use' planning approval and road-safety considerations discussed with the County Councils Highways department. However one has to be confident that such issues will be satisfactorily resolved, and we will be looking to Winsham Parish Council and the residents of Winsham to support the applications.
Winsham Shop Management Committee


Nearly two hundred Winsham residents visited the Open Day.

The Proposal BButton
The Pledge Form

For more general information you may find the links below helpful:
Plunkett logo
The Plunkett Foundation is supporting The George project by providing invaluable advice and support. Click on Logo.

Information from HMRC on Social Investment Tax Relief can be found by CLICKING HERE.

The historical background to two significant buildings
Interesting links to the history of Winsham Shop and the history of The George Inn.

TOP PUB-The George
The George

The Story of over 150 years of service to the village
WINSHAM SHOP- the village

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