Shropshire Star

Company gives £1,000 boost to town's community building appeal

A campaign has been launched to raise £50,000 to pay for the transformation of a former newsagents into flats for local people and enterprises.

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Pictured from left are SWS Broadband’s sales director Rachel Corner and Bishop’s Castle Community Land Trust company secretary Jonathan Brown with the BCCLT Roll of Honour

Bishop's Castle Community Land Trust brought the former Stars Newsagent shop on Church Street using some of the £250,000 bequeathed to it by philanthropist Bill Bainbridge.

Jonathan Brown, BCCLT company secretary, said: “We need to raise around £50,000 towards the building work and hope that many residents of Bishop’s Castle and further afield will want to help us to reach that target.”

The appeal is to fund BCCLT’s transformation of the building into two upstairs flats for local people, and a ground floor space for local enterprises, charities and not for profit organisations to use.

The two flats being created will be let by the trust at an affordable rent - at least 20 per cent below private sector rents - and are for local people in housing need who may not be eligible for a housing association property.

Meanwhile, the business space downstairs will be let on a flexible, short-term basis.

Shrewsbury-based internet service provider SWS Broadband has recently donated £1,000 the Stars Appeal.

The trust bought the building using some of the £250,000 bequeathed to it by philanthropist Bill Bainbridge who had rescued the Three Tuns Brewery in Bishop's Castle in 2003 and died in 2014 at the age of 63.

The works are also being funded by a mortgage from the Ecology Building Society and a grant from Shropshire Council.

Mr Brown added: "Making it an adaptable space is more flexible and less onerous on us a trust, while still offering a ‘shop window’ to people and enterprises who wouldn’t normally have such an opportunity.”

BCCLT recently secured planning permission to convert a disused abattoir at the rear of the premises into a food bank and community hub, a facility currently run from the Church Barn.

Rachel Corner, sales director at SWS, said: “Like SWS, Bishop's Castle Community Land Trust is rooted in the local community so when we visited the project this week, and saw the amazing transformation that is underway, we were eager to donate to the Star’s Appeal.

“We’ve also pledged to provide the hub with a superfast fibre broadband connection when it is up and running, which we hope will in turn benefit the community.”

The primary purpose of the trust is to provide affordable housing for local people in need of somewhere to live. It is owned by 286 member shareholders, most of whom live in and around Bishop’s Castle.

SWS Broadband (Secure Web Services) has been delivering broadband to homes and businesses in Shropshire and Wales since 2005.  Its mission is through its own, fully-owned network, to provide high-speed services to rural communities.

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