A co-operative for Levenshulme?

Village Stores Levenshulme

Levenshulme
may soon be emulating that unbearably hip suburb of Manchester called
Chorlton. For a group of residents are looking into forming a
co-operative to run the local Village Stores.

Since
it was opened three years ago by Ibrahim al-Caddy, Village Stores on
Barlow Road has become a much loved resource for residents of
Levenshulme, like myself. As much as I have talked about kebabs on this
blog so far, I don’t really like living in an area where one in three
shops are takeaways. Good quality food stores are few and far between,
and Village Stores stocks locally grown fruit and veg, health food,
plants and other eco-friendly household stuff.

And as M19 isn’t
known for being full of people who are particularly well off, Ibrahim
has always managed to keep the prices very reasonable for the good
quality. With a good location right next to the leisure centre and
opposite the library, Village Stores has become an essential part of a
small community hub.

On Monday night I popped along to the first meeting, led by resident Lucy Lee, at the Bluebell pub to see if creating a co-operative was a viable option. There was definitely lots of support with about 25 people turning out, but whether there is enough people to dedicate the time and energy remains to be seen. Ideas thrown around at the meeting included adding a community space, cafe and a secondhand bookshop.

Ibrahim bought the building, on the corner of Barlow Road and Cromwell Grove, three years ago and has always wanted to extend its uses, with a basement cafe being one of his ideas. However, he said he has never had the time to develop these ideas. Although Ibrahim is not planning to close down the shop, he would like to pass it over to a co-operative in order to spend more time with his family. Incidentally the store used to be a co-operative in the early twentieth century.

Unicorn Grocery in Chorlton is one of the best examples of a workers’ co-operative and has grown massively since it was set up in 1996. Its 50 members now also own 21 acres of land in Manchester in order to grow its own produce.

For more information email thevillageposse@yahoo.co.uk to be put on the mailing list. If anyone is interested in getting involved, or can offer help or advice, there will be another meeting set up very soon.

Village Stores,114 Barlow Road, Levenshulme, Manchester, M19 3EF
T: 0161 248 7595

For more information:
South Manchester Reporter
Village Stores website
Unicorn Grocery

3 Comments

  • February 27, 2009 - 1:03 am | Permalink

    This is very useful. Wish I stumbled your site before.it really interesting! i like your content! very much.. Thanks a lot for this valuable information.
    -altheya-

  • February 27, 2009 - 1:05 am | Permalink

    This is very useful. Wish I stumbled your site before.it really interesting! i like your content! very much.. Thanks a lot for this valuable information.
    -altheya-

  • March 4, 2009 - 9:42 am | Permalink

    This sounds like a great idea. I especially like the idea of the second hand book shop – jst what Levenshulme needs. And I agree about all the kebab shops.

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