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Community shop set up with help from Larking Gowen's Not for Profit team

A new community shop is being set up in Norwich to help people who are struggling financially or at risk of food or fuel poverty.

The shop in Earlham is being established as part of the Nourishing Norfolk Project, with funding from Norfolk Community Foundation, and has been set up as a community interest company with the help of regional accountancy firm, Larking Gowen.

One of the founders, Carole Jacques, who is Head Teacher at Earlham Nursery School, said the NR5 postcode the shop will serve is an area of very high deprivation, and there’s a pressing need to help local residents with food security.

"When lockdown came, there was a big focus on access to food from a number of groups, including students, families, working people and retired residents. Since the cost of living crisis, food poverty has just escalated," Carole said.

"When we started looking into setting up the shop, we realised that to get funding we’d have to become a community interest company. Fortunately, we were able to get help from Larking Gowen, and without that support we wouldn’t have been able to get set up.

"They helped us with the paperwork and gave us clear guidance about our roles and responsibilities," she continued.

The community shop will be in a room at the nursery school which is currently used as a staff common room and has separate access. People in need of support will join as members. They’ll have access to cheaper food and professional help in a number of areas including employment, health and budgeting.

"We see the impact of food and fuel poverty every day from our children at the nursery, even though they’re very young. This has been our motivation to set this up," Carole said.

Giles Kerkham, head of the Not for Profit Team at Larking Gowen, said: "This project is about getting food and support to people in Norwich who need it. We were delighted to help by setting up the community interest company.

"It's been about discussing the intended benefits for the community and how they achieve them, while keeping the wording of their documentation simple, usable and effective. Having the community interest company will protect the committee members and give confidence to supporters and funders.

"As an independent regional practice, our role in supporting the wider community is extremely important to us. As part of this wider commitment, we’re proud to be one of the founder members of Norfolk ProHelp, the network of professional firms who commit to providing free, quality advice to the not for profit sector. We were very pleased to be able to accept this project to make sure that the community shop is set up in the best way to ensure its sustainability.”

Find out more about Norfolk Pro Help here.

Find out more about Norfolk Community Foundation here.

Giles Kerkham, Partner and Not for Profit lead at Larking Gowen is pictured with Carole Jacques, Head Teacher at Earlham Nursery School



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