Last year Spar Ladybank was awarded the Kingsmill Community Grant. What has it meant so far?
IN early 2013 the team behind leading bread brand Kingsmill invited retailers all across Britain to pitch ideas – saying what they would do to change or improve their neighbourhood – for a chance to receive a £2,000 investment grant towards a local community project.
The Kingsmill initiative aimed to drive home the important role retailers play in their local communities, provide retailers with a topic to discuss with their customers, and create a sustainable legacy for their local area. Criteria for entry demanded that the projects pitched by retailers would deliver a way for the community to come together.
The £2,000 grant was awarded to Spar Ladybank, based in the Howe of Fife in Scotland. The store is the epicentre of village life and store manager Chrissie Maclaren has continually supported her local area over the years. Chrissie submitted her entry to Kingsmill in order to help her local area develop a community garden.
Since entry criteria asked that projects help the whole community to come together, the judges were impressed by the fact that Chrissie’s community garden plans included a sensory garden, with raised beds, that villagers of all ages and abilities would be able to enjoy and participate in. Chrissie saw her application become a talking point for customers, which pleased her as she strongly believes that engaging with the local area is essential for all retailers.
“You can’t expect to succeed as a retailer without supporting your community, and this project in particular has given me an opportunity to engage with new people,” she said.
“Community projects big or small can help build loyalty from customers, so I’d encourage all retailers to get as involved as possible with their local area. Each individual has a role in the community – no matter what age or standing within their area.
“The best advice I can give is to get to know your community and let them know you want to get involved too.”
As it’s a garden project there’s a lot to do in different seasons.
But since receiving the grant, Chrissie has used merchandising material supplied by Kingsmill, as well as posters and the giant cheque and certificate presented to the store, to promote the shop and highlight the fact that it was a community grant winner. And it has had a positive effect – news of the award and the project is spreading steadily by word of mouth.