Papay Community Co-op

Papay Community Co-op

In 2011 a Hub adviser travelled to the far north of Scotland to provide specialist help to one of the UK’s oldest community-owned shops. Since 1980 the Papay Community Co-op has been running the only shop on Papa Westray, one of the most northerly of the Orkney Islands.

The co-operative also runs a 20-bed hostel for visitors, a minibus and a community function room, cinema and cafe, which is the main social centre for the 75 residents. Thirty years ago the islanders were very much ‘new pioneers’, with many of them actively involved in the running of the co‐operative. Over the years participation has dwindled, and
recently there have only been five people on the management committee.

Tim Dodman, the secretary who settled on the island in 2001, said: “We knew that we needed outside help to update our management and administration, so when we heard about the support available from the Hub, we got in touch.” Martin Meteyard, one of the Hub’s advisers, flew up to meet members at the co-operative’s AGM and also held detailed discussions with the staff and directors on governance and procedures. He said: “They hadn’t really looked at their processes and procedures for a very long time. In a small isolated community where everyone has to get along, it’s more important than ever that correct procedures are followed and that everyone understands the rules.”

The CBC adviser drafted amendments to the rules to include an asset lock which should make it easier for the co-operative to apply for grant funding. He also advised on a staff handbook.

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