In January 2013 a group of more than twenty Sherborne businesses, organisations and individuals (including the No Thanks Tesco campaign organisers) came together and formed the Keep Sherborne Viable Group; launching a campaign to oppose the development of an out-of–town superstore on the site of the Sherborne Hotel, to save the hotel itself (which is a major tourism asset to the town) and to protect the vibrancy and viability of Sherborne’s town centre. The much-publicised campaign was successful and the Group has now decided to disband, with an agreement to reconvene should a future issue of such local importance require its combined expertise. In doing so the Group thanks the thousands of people who helped it to achieve its aims.
Early in the campaign the Group set up a fighting fund to pay for essential professional support services. An amount of £2792 was donated, in addition to a number of pledges to draw down as required. Thanks to the generosity of Group members who gave their time and services free of charge, the campaign (which would have otherwise cost in the region of £25,000 to run, including consultants’ fees, surveys, legal advice, design and print, PR and communications, marketing, website and social media) actually spent just £692 of the fighting fund, leaving a surplus of £2100.
A condition associated with fighting fund donations was that at the end of the campaign any residual amount would be donated to local charities nominated by the Group. We are therefore delighted to announce that The Senior Lunch Club, The Zest Café (Four Leaf Clover Club), Sherborne Food Bank, The Rendezvous, and the 1st Sherborne (St Aldhelm’s) Scout Group will each receive £420 and cheques will be presented to them outside Sherborne Abbey on Monday 1st September at 11.00am.
Peter Neal, outgoing Chairman of the KSVG, said “Each charity is a very worthy local cause and it is fitting that this particular campaign to keep Sherborne viable ends on such a positive note for the town”.