Purpose-led campaign delivers lifeline for rural community

With an ambitious plan to raise £200,000, and under pressure to do it quickly, Kirkoswald Community Shop needed some quick thinking and straight-forward support to raise awareness of their campaign.

A vibrant village in the Eden Valley, Cumbria, Kirkoswald has had a shop for over 100 years, serving locals and tourists alike. But with the shop up for sale following the death of the owner from Covid-19 last year, the threat of closure was looming large. This is where a group of determined residents stepped in with an ambitious plan to purchase the shop and run it as a Community Shop. To do this they needed to raise £200,000 in a matter of weeks – no mean feat for a small rural community.

The Community Shop Committee turned to Beyond Partners for help. Creating a purpose-led campaign was our number one priority; yes, the purpose was to raise a huge amount of money, but the ultimate purpose was keeping the village alive. The consistent messaging and local stories, combined with stand-out marketing captured the imagination of the public and the press. With donations from the local community, across the country and from as far afield as Australia and Texas, TV coverage from BBC and ITV and articles in local and national press, Kirkoswald exceeded their target in record-quick time.

The Plunkett Foundation, a charity which supports groups to set-up community-owned businesses across the UK, confirmed that the Kirkoswald campaign has been one of the most successful Community Shop campaigns, exceeding their fundraising target in just 6 weeks and bringing the community together to save this vital rural service.    

Ruth Anderson, MBE and Committee Chair gave us this fantastic feedback. ‘So many shareholders and supporters commented on how successful the marketing has been. Other campaigns will be envious of this huge reach! Thanks for the magic wand, you have helped us achieve and surpass our goal.’

Kirkoswald Community Shop now has over 600 shareholders, is open for business and is a shining example of the power of what can happen with a strong purpose and a determined community.

We were proud to be part of this project and seeing them achieve their target and the heart-warming support they received from far and wide has been incredible. And it makes us happy that we’ve helped to contribute to keeping Kirkoswald village alive for many years to come.