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Case Studies > Monymusk Thrift Shop

Monymusk, Aberdeenshire


Case Study Monymusk Thrift Shop Monymusk, Aberdeenshire www.helpingithappen.co.uk
Case Study Monymusk Thrift Shop The Post Office in the heart of beautiful Monymusk is far more than just a normal village store. It also houses a fantastic community resource, in the form of a busy thrift shop run by local volunteers.

In early 2009, the shop was vacant and there was a risk that the village Post Office might eventually have to close down. However, a group from the local community, led by Lorna Pole, saw an opportunity to open a thrift shop in the vacant space, which would raise money to pay for the much needed refurbishment of the village hall. Sir Archie Grant, owner of Monymusk Estate, kindly agreed to let them use the premises. The Thrift Shop began to grow and, when the post mistress left, Lady Fiona Grant stepped in to take over the franchise and set about refurbishing the shop. Since then, sharing the premises with the Post Office has allowed the Thrift Shop to go from strength to strength and support from the Thrift Shop has enabled the Post Office to remain viable.

The Thrift Shop proved so successful that it was able to fund the necessary work on the Grade B listed village hall and its car park, with assistance from a number of small grants, Aberdeenshire Council and significant LEADER funding. The rental charges for community groups using the hall are kept low and matched with day-to-day running costs, so that no profit is made from these charges. Where necessary, the continuing income from the thrift shop is used to supplement the costs of maintaining and running the village hall.

A number of local groups now benefit from the improved hall facilities, including the playgroup, Tai Chi and yoga classes, indoor bowling, the Girl Guides, the church musical activity group and the Sunday School. The hall is also used for weddings and birthday parties, various local fundraisers and the Cinema Group offer regular film nights over the winter months, providing a valuable resource for the community.

Since the completion of the hall refurbishment, money raised by the Thrift Shop is now mostly given to charitable causes. Small grants are available to local organisations and Thrift Shop funds were used to help with major improvements to the playpark facilities last year. The playgroup, Girl Guides and senior citizens groups have also benefited from funding. Each year a national charity is selected to receive 10% of the Thrift Shop income, with this year’s charity being Alzheimers Research. Other charities supported include the MS Society, MacMillan, Marie Curie and CLAN Cancer Care and the Nepal disaster fund.

Local groups are also given the opportunity to run the shop for a day and to keep any profits made. This is something that the Girl Guides, the playgroup, the church and the Monymusk Arts Trust have undertaken to help improve their finances. The Thrift Shop also has great value as a social hub, with villagers able to meet and chat over a cup of coffee.

Although only open two mornings a week, nearly £110,000 has been raised since the Thrift Shop was established in 2009. Commenting on this staggering achievement, Lorna said: “I am proud of the role the Thrift Shop has played in improving the facilities in the village, as well as the contribution we’ve been able to make to helping community groups to flourish”. Sir Archie added: “The village has benefited hugely from having the Thrift Shop at its very centre and I am pleased that the Estate has helped to facilitate this fantastic project”.
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