The villages of Seavington St Mary and Seavington St Michael in South Somerset

Overview of Project

The Community Store and Café lie on a site adjacent to the existing Millennium Hall, offering convenient access and parking to all residents. The site is owned by the Seavington Playing Field Association which operates both playing field and Millennium Hall and is leased from the Trustess who remain supportive of the venture as it embarks on its second year of trading.

During 2005 the Seavington Parish Council undertook a comprehensive survey of village residents wishes for the development of the communities over the following ten years. The resulting Village Plan was published in December 2005 and highlighted the need for reinstatement of the village shop and post office.

During 2006 an ad-hoc committee, supported by the Village Retail Services Association (ViRSA) conducted a detailed survey into peoples’ shopping patterns and what they would want from a village shop.

This survey demonstrated, to ViRSA’s satisfaction, that a community owned and run shop serving the Seavingtons would be viable. The committee then developed concepts for a shop and took them to a public meeting on 6th December 2006 where they were endorsed by the community.

In 2009 building work commenced and the shop opened for business in May 2010. The building is constructed so as to be as environmentally friendly as possible with a low carbon footprint. The cost of the building was £185,000 paid by grants, donations, local fund-raising events and a number of small loans. For details of the plans of the shop & cafe please navigate there. During it’s first year of trading, £4k of these loans had been repaid and by end 2016 over £36k had been repaid with only £6k of loans outstanding.

The Store and Café are run and staffed mainly by volunteers with many of these volunteers meeting other village residents (both staff and customers) for the first time. Volunteers have commented on the positive nature of this and how this is already bringing back some of the sense of community spirit which has inevitably diminished in the village with the reduction in facilities we have seen over the past few years.

Whilst increasing trading and use of the café facility remain a major goal of the committee, long term aims include bringing Postal and other rural services back to the village. A small back room is now used as an office but has in the past been used to give the shop some rental income. It has already been used by a local MP for his local Surgery and a local Hypnotherapist ran an occasional clinic. The venture retains the full support of Somerset County Council, South Somerset District Council and the Seavington Parish Council who have all made significant grants/loans towards the costs.

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