If you’re like me then you have good days or great days. Today is going to be better than that! In fact today is the day that signifies 2012 is going to be a great year.
The year 2012 will go down in history as the year that Community Group Buying changed the economic landscape. The very same economic landscape that The Daily Telegraph shouted at us about just two weeks ago: “We may pass through hell first but the UK will rise from the flames”. Bah humbug! Look beyond your blinkered, last century economic thinking. Groups of people getting together in their communities to buy things they would normally have bought alone – things that are necessary - will challenge the flawed economic model that we have been seduced by for over 200 years.
So why today?
Well today 40 bags of Rock salt – a pallet load – arrive in the village of Wootton nr Woodstock in Oxfordshire. They are being sold to the residents of our community at £5.49 less – per bag – than they can be bought at Homebase. They are being delivered to the door – or garden shed – of those that are unable to lift a 25kg bag or those that are out all day. The delivery method will be by wheelbarrow. An unsual company vehicle I would agree! They are being delivered by three young people that until a few weeks ago, when they met an educator named Richard, had nothing to look forward to as they are NEETs kids. Not in Education, Employment, Training…it is a horrible term isn’t it? It is also testimony that our flawed economic thinking has let down an entire generation – one million unemployed teens!
So a group of people get together and save some money. So what? OK so they’ve saved themselves forty individual journeys, some time, the phone calls to ring round to see who has the cheapest and the back breaking effort of picking it up at both ends of the journey. Is that really such a big deal?
This is a massive deal. This is about Community in the truest sense. This is about reinventing the way a community does business. This afternoon and this product are just one example of why Community Group Buying works and how nobody gets left out. We are a group and as a group we go to market.
In this instance the rock salt was bought wholesale and the small profit it will generate is the unusual twist this time around, as it will give those three young people an insight into how a business can be generated by helping the local community. By getting a necessity to those that could not conceive of being able to go and buy it themselves they have protected the vulnerable. They have erradicated numerous journeys on our tiny country roads and that is so much more than simply a reduction in carbon emissions – critical as that is. The £20 they will each clear from this makes a huge difference to their lives – it also creates belief. But even more than that they have proved a redesigned economic model.
Our Community Buying Group formed over two years ago. In that time 100 families have shared savings of over £40,000 just on their heating OIL. That Community Buying Group can now buy anything it wants to buy as a group…your community, rural or urban, can buy anything it chooses and it too can find ways to reinvent economic models and create micro businesses: nappies, compost, solar PV, fruit and veg, oil, gas, water butts, window cleaning, the list is pretty much endless.
So why is 2012 going to be the year that Community challenges the economic landscape? Apart from the obvious because we must challenge it: we have influenced a project that will create another 2000 of these groups right across the UK! Community Buying Groups…if you hadn’t heard about this phenomenon before, then you most certainly have now.
And so what happened…
It really is as simple as it looks…and in that simplicity is a solution to a vastly more complex issue – jobs for young people in their community