Issued 17.55 Wednesday 16 December 2015

Under embargo until 00.01, 18 December 2015





The Penicuik Community Alliance has today launched a bid for investors to support the Penicuik Storehouse, an ambitious community food and market project in the centre of the Midlothian town. The share offer is being supported today by Owen Thompson MP and young people from Penicuik High School. This team of students have already made a big contribution to the project by running a great gig at the Cowan Institute on 20th November. They have engaged in discussions with the architect, Alan Thomson of Lee Boyd, Designers and Architects, and will spend this coming weekend delivering publicity leaflets throughout Penicuik and its hinterland.



The Storehouse will be home to a community bakery, café, kitchen, food store and indoor social supermarket, and is expected to open in the spring of 2016. The objective of the project is to strengthen Penicuik's local economy and provide affordable local food for the community.



Over the next six weeks up to £300,000 will be raised from supporters in Penicuik and from further afield to get this project off the ground. The project has already received support from the Scottish Government (TCCCF Grant),Midlothian Council, Midlothian Voluntary Alliance, Social Investment Scotland and from Community Shares Scotland, and the share offer will be hosted on Microgenius, a dedicated platform for this innovative fundraising approach.



Owen Thompson MP said:



"I'm very excited to see plans coming together for the Penicuik Storehouse, and I'd urge everyone with an interest in its success to see if they can take part. Penicuik is a great town with a lot going for it, but this project could really add to the high street and the community here, as well as to the local economy.



"It's great to be here and talk about the future of the town both with the Penicuik Community Alliance and with this group of bright, engaged and socially awake young people. I'm sure the share offer will be a great success, and I'm looking forward to being back here for the formal opening in a few months time.”



Roger Kelly, convener of the Penicuik Community Alliance, said:




"If this is the sort of change you want to see in Penicuik, please look us up online and see how the share offer might work for you. We're after investors, even those with just £25 to put in, not donations. The objectives may be to provide a worthwhile space for the community and for local food, but this is a commercial project, and we intend to make it work on that basis.



“We’re optimistic about the future of Penicuik, and we believe the Storehouse can become an important hub for the local economy, bringing high quality jobs to the town for the long term and supporting the best local food producers. Now we need you to help us make that a reality.”



Isla Thom, of S5 at Penicuik High, said:



"It really feels like the whole school is getting behind this project. We're excited to see the proposals for the Storehouse, and to be really involved in its development and promotion. Through this process we're finding out what is involved in making such a major development happen. Last week we met with Debra and Geoff, the founders of Breadshare and were really inspired by their passion for good healthy, wholesome bread, from locally grown grain, milled and baked right here in Penicuik. In January we will be meeting with a Planning Officer and a Building Control Officer and should also meet with the Alliance’s solicitor to help us get an insight into the civil and legal aspects of the project.



“Over the next six weeks we're planning loads of events in and around Penicuik to help support the Storehouse and make sure local people know all about these proposals. With their support, we know it could make an extraordinary difference to the town's future.”



Kelly McIntyre, Programme Manager for Community Shares Scotland, said:



"We're absolutely delighted to be working with the Penicuik Community Alliance on the Storehouse project, which is exactly the sort of innovative idea Community Shares Scotland was set up to support. It's what we love to see: a community group with that mix of practicality and ambition, determined to improve where they live and work.



“Community shares as a concept are really taking off, both here and internationally, and over our first eighteen months of operation we've helped groups across Scotland raise £3,267,000. We think the Penicuik Storehouse will inspire many more organisations to come forward and look at how they can finance important projects in their communities.”






1. The Penicuik Storehouse share offer is online at:


2. Community Shares Scotland is a national organisation based in Edinburgh and was launched in May 2014 with the aim of growing the community business market through practical application and help people progress their own community businesses. It has a pan-Scotland focus and is run by Kelly McIntyre, Programme Manager and Morven Campbell, Programme Officer. The three-year programme involves a range of awareness raising and training activities, setting up an information service and providing direct support to communities and groups interested in launching their own Community Share offer.



Examples of local Community Share projects that are running successfully include the Port Appin, community shop in Argyll that has been running since 1983; Uig Community Shop, a vital local resource since 2004 on the Isle of Lewis; FC Unite, football club who play the home league at Gigg Lane in Bury and Green Valley Bakery, Slaithwaite, West Yorkshire.


Community Shares Scotland is funded by the Big Lottery Fund Scotland and Carnegie UK Trust. Delivered by DTA Scotland in partnership with the Plunkett Foundation, the Community Shares Unit (a joint project run by Locality and Co-operatives UK) and Rocket Science.



3. Community Shares are not like ordinary shares in an ordinary company. Any person who buys shares will become a member of the Society and will possess a single vote regardless of the amount of shares purchased. You should not buy these shares to make a profit. You should not put in money which you cannot afford and which you might need back quickly.



If you buy shares you should see yourself as a social investor with a voice which will be heard. Your shares will mean that you have a say in the future operation of the enterprise and your share shows you care about the future of Penicuik and its heritage. Your investment is withdrawable in certain conditions and the Board plans to pay interest on shares after the third year of trading.





Roger Kelly


Tel: 07726 862850