The situation at Godshill shop and post office is that at present it is run by Island Community Ventures Ltd, a trading arm of the charity Community Action Isle of Wight.
Due to the difficult trading environment that many rural village shops and post offices have, which have seen many shut both up and down the country and on the Island, the shop tends to lose money each year. This tends to be in the region of an average annual loss of £15,000.
In the past the Godshill shop has only survived because Island Community Ventures Ltd has supported operational losses from profits made from other charitable trading ventures and because Community Action Isle of Wight has actively tried to support the maintenance of such rural community services.
However, in the difficult environment in which we all find ourselves, with a squeeze both on all trading and much charitable work, it can no longer cover such losses.
To protect both the Godshill Post Office service and other outreach services that are also provided, in particularly in Totland, a potential way forward has been suggested which sees the risk of losses shared between Godshill Parish, Totland Parish and Island Community Ventures Ltd.
The proposal would be that the two parish councils and Island Community Ventures Ltd share the potential loss by Godshill Parish and Totland Parish agreeing to provide an annual grant to Island Community Ventures Ltd up to a maximum of £5,000 per parish council.
If the shop breaks even then no grant funding would be required. Island Community Ventures is not providing the service to try and make a profit, just to break even and support the community service. If the trading loss was lower then a proportionate amount would be paid as a grant. For example if a loss of £10,000 was incurred then each parish would be asked for £3,333 for that year and Island Community Ventures would contribute £3,333.
If the losses were higher than £15,000 the amount requested from the parish councils would still be no higher than £5,000 each. Island Community Ventures would cover this higher loss.
Without this support Island Community Ventures would have to give notice on the shop and our post office contract and the post office would therefore close in June.
Without this kind of hybrid approach it is difficult to see how the post office service can continue in many rural areas as a small shop and post office simply don’t generate sufficient footfall and have sufficient profit margins on the items/services they sell to make it add up.
Based on the current known information, moving the post office to a different location in Godshill would result in a minimum of £18,000 in set up costs and would very likely result in Post Office Ltd reducing the level of remuneration it pays, making any future provision even less financially viable.
The position at Rookley is also difficult due to the potential development of the site and therefore its future is also uncertain.
GODSHILL PARISH COUNCIL WISHES TO CONSULT RESIDENTS AS A MATTER OF URGENCY ON THE ABOVE PROPOSAL WHICH INVOLVES AN ANNUAL CONTRIBUTION OF £5,000 TOWARDS THE RUNNING COSTS OF THE POST OFFICE/STORE. IT IS PROPOSED TO FUND THE CONTRIBUTION FROM EXISTING RESERVES AND THERE WOULD THEREFORE BE NO IMPACT ON THE COUNCIL’S PRECEPT
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Notice Date: 06/01/2021