Jura Development Trust won the ABSEN Shield for Social Enterprise Volunteer of the Year at the Argyll Voluntary Action’s Volunteer of The Year Awards in Lochgilphead on Friday 31st May, 2013.
This Social Enterprise made up entirely of volunteers recently secured an amazing £654,000 for Jura to purchase the islands only shop ensuring this lifeline service continued to survive. Their consultation highlihted the extent to which the shops closure would affect local people where some would have been forced to leave the island permanently. As population retention and growth is a priority for Jura the prospect of losing existing residents could have had a serious effect on island sustainability.
Due to the work needing done on the building and the small profit margins the shop was not attractive to the private sector and had Jura Development Trust and the subsequent new Jura Community Stores CIC not progressed with the community purchase there is no question this shop would have closed.
Finally it is also vital to recognise the importance of this success in a national contest as a model for promoting the community right to buy scheme and how social enterprises can deliver key business services. This was a lengthy and often fraught experience for the Jura Development Trust but when others may have simply decided it was too much work or effort, this voluntary group stuck it out through the difficulties to achieve an amazing result.