Book shop building on founder's legacy
Councillors have met with the team behind a community book shop to build on the support of its founder's legacy.
Article date: 22 March 2022
Councillor David Baines, Leader of St Helens Borough Council and Councillor Kate Groucutt, Cabinet Member for Business, Skills and Education met with the team at The Book Stop, on Bridge Street, St Helens Town Centre, to see how the council can work with the trustees to make the most of the opportunities.
The Book Stop is a charitable community benefit society which was set up by Brian Leyland who sadly passed away last month. As well as a book shop and café the business also has an upstairs space they hope soon to be able to convert to a community space with a wide variety of potential uses.
The community space has been supported by a £5,000 grant from St Helens Borough Council as part of the Metro Mayor's £500,000 Town Centre Fund, which is benefitting businesses in Earlestown and St Helens town centres following successful application bids.
Launched in July 2021, the grant scheme aimed to develop investment and growth in town centres, enabling businesses to carry out extensive improvement works as part of their recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.
Councillor Kate Groucutt said: "Brian's passion and vision lives on through the fantastic Book Stop and as a council we are keen to see how we can support this initiative that is providing our borough with a real community asset. Not only is it providing jobs, supporting our economy but also has huge potential to work with schools and community groups to spark that interest in literature for young people which is just as valuable to our borough
"It was great to visit the store and see too how they have put the funding of £5,000 from the Town Centre Fund to good use as part of their business to provide equipment and furniture to support that wider community use."
Mike Gaskell, Chairman, added: "We are delighted at the positive comments and feedback we have received since opening the shop in November. We have been successfully trading in the book shop and the Two Brothers coffee shop, plus our online provision is also thriving through our website.
"We are now turning our attention to our wider community offer, and our ambition for the shop to become a hub of activity for people of all ages in St Helens Borough. We were delighted to welcome St Helens Borough Council to the shop, and very much look forward to exploring collaborative opportunities to support the many wonderful services they provide across the borough, services that we know are crucial to residents physical and mental health and wellbeing. We are particularly looking forward to engaging with both primary and secondary schools in St Helens Borough to reach our younger residents.
"If you would like to help The BookStop with this expansion of our activities and are a person with the experience and drive to be the new manager of our book; or either/both accounting or business development events organising experience and would like to become a trustee of The BookStop please take a look at the Book Stop website and if you are interested in either role please email your CV and a supporting letter to firstname.lastname@example.org. We would be delighted to hear from you."