The idea of a community shop in Little Plumstead was first suggested in late-2016. Since then, a number of organisations have worked together to bring the project nearer to fruition. One of the sites being considered is a Victorian walled garden near to the village church, and the Hertfordshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the nearby Broadland Clinic, has helped to spearhead the scheme. It carried out a survey which found that 87.7% of villagers thought a shop was important.
NPS is a national organisation, delivering a comprehensive and flexible range of property services, tailored to meet the needs of public and private sector clients across the UK. The companies within the NPS Group are wholly owned by the public sector, with partner authorities enjoying a share in the companies’ success.
Project summary – The aim of the project is to deliver a village hub, shop and to support people on discharge from nearby mental health facility, the Broadland Clinic, by providing volunteering opportunities and work experience. A derelict building on the identified site will be converted and extended to create a shop and café.
It is envisaged that it will be regularly used by more than 1,500 local people including:
- Residents of the 300 homes being built on site
- Parents and staff at the 200-pupil school
- The 100 people working for the NHS Trust
- The 50 people employed on the nearby Octagon Business Park
- The wider Plumstead community
Before a fundraising campaign is embarked on the project team needed an accurate estimate of the capital cost of building the 1,800 sqft shop within the walled garden. NPS carried out the work required, contributing pro bono work to the value of £1,382.50. As and when the project goes ahead it is likely that other ProHelp firms will contribute to the delivery.
Impact – The work completed by NPS provided an accurate estimate of the capital cost of building the shop and gave the project team a costed proposal to take to a public meeting.
Once the venture is established, it will provide:
- Community meeting space
- A local convenience store
- Opportunities for local residents to volunteer in the shop and café (alleviating loneliness and social isolation)
- Opportunities for NHS Trust service users to gain valuable work experience
- Community garden within the walled garden
- Outdoor playspace for the adjacent school
“As the idea of a community shop gained traction it was brilliant to be able to get some pro bono help from NPS. Not only were they able to provide drawings and estimate likely build cost, but their reputation meant people took what they gave us seriously.” Robert Ashton, Social Entrepreneur and Project Advisor
“NPS were very pleased to provide professional cost assistance to this early stage of the project, as we know how important it is to have a clear understanding of the likely financial commitment for any venture at the outset.
Working with Hertfordshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, the Parish council and Robert Ashton provided us with a refreshing insight into potential community benefit opportunities that may be explored with our clients in future projects.” Adrian Blakey, Programme Manager, NPS