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Village store
Village store

Watten shop moving into the community's hands

  • Date published: 10/04/24
  • Related fund: Camster

RWE Camster Wind Farm Community Fund has supported the community with almost £30,000.

Woodside Stores, in the heart of Caithness, had been on the market for some time. Watten residents feared that the shop would close or be re-purposed and the community would lose its much-loved local grocery shop.  

An online questionnaire generated a powerful supportive response which led to a community meeting at Watten Hall, where a small group of local people volunteered to join a steering group to take the project forward.

The RWE Camster Wind Farm Community Fund Panel, which has four members who live in Watten, was keen to do what they could to help a local group form to take over the shop. They organised a contractor to undertake the structural survey and valuation so that, once formed, the group could hit the ground running. 

The wind farm Panel also allocated some funds to buy in specialist support from the Plunkett Foundation, who specialise in the community takeovers of local assets.

Now established as a Community Benefit Society, Watten Shop Group has been awarded £29,233 from the RWE Camster Wind Farm Fund to lease the shop for a period of six months while the group proceeds with the purchase of the shop to ensure a smooth handover for the community.

The group has recently published a business plan, and is now working on a community share offer alongside further funding applications to enable the purchase of the shop.  

The RWE Camster Wind Farm Community Fund Panel wishes them all the best and look forward to being able to visit the shop.  

Read the Watten Shop Group Business Plan here