SturAction – Sturminster Newton Community Benefit Society Ltd. – was set up four years ago this month to help maintain Sturminster’s reputation as a great place to live, work and play. All profits generated by the six retail outlets run by SturAction are used to support the Town.
The charity is celebrating its fourth birthday by paying for a days free parking on 4th March! In the morning the monthly Car and Bike Enthusiasts Meeting will be in town, to provide interest for visitors. The car meet also comes under SturAction’s umbrella, as the organisation covers the events insurance for the town.
SturAction is also celebrating the donation of the former Lloyds Bank Building to the town in perpetuity. The building has been renamed The John Roman’s Building to honour the donor and it will continue to house The Emporium and Art Gallery, with Dapper Chaps on the ground floor, and meeting rooms and an office used by SturBiz on the first floor. The currently-derelict top floor will soon be turned into office space to help embryo businesses with a hot desking facility.
The success of 1855
SturAction runs a collection of pre-loved outlets: ladieswear in the pre-loved Boutique, a Dapper Chaps gentleman’s pre-loved boutique, The Emporium full of bric a brac and useful items, an art gallery and also a used furniture showroom. At the end of 2022, the newest business 1855 launched, allowing local makers and craftspeople to hire customer-facing space to market their products. The profits from all of these businesses are spent on projects to benefit the town – it is hoped that more free parking Saturdays can be paid for through the year.
Cheryl Basten, shop manager for SturAction says, ‘This year we are completing the second phase of refurbishing the 1855 building. It’s a lot sooner than we had originally planned, as we already have a waiting list of local Artisans keen to hire an area.
What an incredible four years! Three former banks back in use plus a boutique, with all profits being reinvested into the town.’
Other projects paid for by the SturAction funds include a defibrillator in the town centre, the town website sturminster-newton.org.uk, organising and underwriting events such as the synthetic ice rink last Christmas, putting up the town Christmas trees, more flowers in the town (in winter as well as summer!) and supporting Bib the Bike, which enables those with mobility issues to enjoy cycle rides in the countryside. It’s a long list of achievements that are only possible thanks to the group of shops.
Chairman of SturAction, Cllr Nick Dobson says. ‘our motto is the Joel Barker quote: “vision without action is merely a dream”. We have a fantastic team of staff and volunteers who routinely turn dreams into reality for the benefit of the town.
We are also fortunate to have had tremendous support from John Romans, who is a local man, born and bred, and wants to assist the town.’