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Olympics leader helps village shop
10:00am Friday 3rd August 2012 in News
THE man who masterminded London’s Olympic park is turning his talents to an ongoing project in Blockley.
Sir John Armitt, who has a home in the village, has offered to be the special adviser to the Blockley Co-operative Association (BCA) which is building a new community shop and café.
As chairman of the Olympic Delivery Authority and former chief executive of Network Rail and Railtrack, he will advise the BCA during its building phase. The new shop will be built next to the current one – a space currently occupied by public toilets – and will include a post office and a café.
Generous donations from villagers along with initiatives including Wine Wizards, the coffee club and Blockley Bonds have helped raise £98,000 and a new village lottery, which is drawn on the last Saturday of the month, has already been a hit with residents.
Accountant Ollie Lincoln said having Sir John on board was an added bonus to what has been an exceptional fund-raising campaign so far.
“It exceeded our expectations,”
he said. “Our target was £100,000. The local fund-raising efforts have been incredible. There’s been a real range of where the donations have come from.”
Pam Merritt, BCA member, said: “A lot of newcomers to the village have been donating. People who were not here when we started this shop. It’s very encouraging.”
Since planning permission was granted in November last year the committee has worked flat out to secure grants and raise vital funds to get the project off the ground.
The BCA has already secured a £250,000 loan and a grant of £65,000 from the Community Builders Fund and is waiting to find out if they have secured a National Lottery grant which could be up to £500,000.
But as the lease on the current shop expires in August 2013, the committee is eager to get things moving.
“We’ve got a real incentive to get things moving forward,” added Mr Lincoln.
“We think we can realistically build it in that time period.”