Illuminate Christian Bookshop and Upper Room Café is appealing for non-profit shareholders to invest in the shop to help keep the light shining in Shrewsbury — and if insufficient funds are forthcoming the shop is expected to close down within a matter of weeks.
In a letter issued to members of the Friends of Illuminate facebook group last month, Phil Whittall, co-owner of the shop since 2004 with Jeremy Taylor, explained that despite their own and the staff’s best efforts, it had not been possible to turn the business around from being a loss-making venture and they were no longer in a position to support the shop themselves. A meeting of local church leaders and other interested parties was held and a new steering group for the shop was formed with a view to creating a charitable trust to take over the shop.
Writing this week to those who attended, Ellie Lee, a member of the steering group, explained:
The overall picture from the current position is that, unless funds can be raised by the Christian community in and around Shrewsbury, Illuminate will cease trading at the end of July at the latest.
The Steering Group are now in the process of setting up a charity (probably to be called The Illuminate Trust), as mentioned at the community meeting.
A letter and “briefing” pack is in the process of being prepared and it is planned for this to be sent out to as many churches as possible, ready to be presented by the church focal point on Sunday 20th June. (If you are happy to be the “focal point” in your church, can you let me know as soon as possible please). Non-profit making shares in the trust will be available for £50 each. An alternative for those who are unable to purchase a full share would be to donate money instead to the charity. We will then have nearly 3 weeks to raise the funds before a decision has to be made. A minimum of 1200 shares need to be purchased to raise enough funds initially to keep Illuminate going in its current format. No firm decision will be made about the staffing of Illuminate at present.
We are very aware that a lot of prayer is going on at the moment about saving this important focal point for the town and we are trusting God for His will to be done. We also believe that God wants us to be risk takers and push the door in faith!
Please feel free to pass this email on to anyone you feel may be interested in the current situation. You could also contact me or any of the Group members for further information.
Ellie Lee (on behalf of Illuminate Trust Steering Group)
- To get involved and for latest news as it emerges join the Friends of Illuminate facebook group