Sarah Beeny meets the residents of Caistor, who applied for a grant from the Big Lottery Fund to create a local arts and heritage centre but had no idea what was in store.
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'The British countryside.
'With green valleys, wild mountains, rolling farmlands and forests,
'the landscape is as diverse as it is beautiful.
'Many dream of escaping to the simple country life.
'But for those who live in rural Britain, it's a different story.'
Traditional industries are in decline
and across the land, local shops, pubs and farms,
the very cornerstone of country life, are closing at an alarming rate.
It just seems that the heartbeat of our green and pleasant land is fast disappearing.
This was a really vibrant shopping street
and now we've got one pub left and that's it.
You need to keep these places safe and secure for our children to come and enjoy.
'The one thing the countryside has going for it is the people who call it home.'
But what if locals were able to take matters into their own hands?
What if groups of volunteers were given a load of money
to turn their dreams into realities and put the spirit back into their communities?
We're only going to succeed in this project if we involve as many people from the community as possible.
Good service. We want good service.
'With just 12 months to pull it off,
'putting their villages back on the map is not going to be easy.'
-I just know that we're going to have battles every step of the way!
-I have no building experience whatsoever.
-What a shambles.
But the results might just be spectacular.
It's the biggest chance we've ever had to do something amazing.
It's a big ask, but it could work.
'Can a passionate bunch of volunteers in Caistor
'use their local heritage to create a thriving business?'
My dream is for it to become a cultural centre for Caistor.
'Or will the conflict between the past and future stop the project in its tracks?'
We've not had the discussion of what gives in this building. And nothing is giving yet.
-If I don't understand it, fire me now!
-I have to keep telling her it's not London.
I've been persistent and I've fought every step of the way to make this what it can be.
'The rolling Lincolnshire Wolds make up some of the most breathtaking countryside in Britain.
'One of England's most famous walking routes, the Viking Way, stretches across it
'and the region attracts 17 million visitors a year.
'20 miles from the county town of Lincoln lies the ancient Roman settlement of Caistor.'
Caistor Square dates back to the Roman era.
It was once a thriving market town, famous throughout Lincolnshire for its roaring trade.
Caistor used to be buzzing.
-These were all businesses at one time.
-It's just a spectacular area.
'The last few years haven't been so kind to the town.
'Over 20 shops and pubs have shut, leaving it close to dereliction.'
People now tend to go out of the village to meet, to socialise.
Money is not spent here anymore, it's spent elsewhere.
People don't bother coming up town to shop anymore,
therefore they don't see each other, so you lose community links.
What it now needs is a business that encourages people
to spend their money here at home, reviving the local economy.
'Retired local councillor Roy Schofield was born in Caistor.
-'Its memories are close to his heart.'
-I used to come here in the 50s, 60s, and get my fish and chips.
Used to have a restaurant upstairs, but not any longer. This is a Grade II listed building.
'Now his hope is to rescue Caistor's crumbling Methodist chapel.'
My dream is for it to become a cultural centre for Caistor.
'For the past five years, he's been in partnership with local historian Alan Dennis.
'Together, they've campaigned to turn the chapel into a museum with a small cafe
'to put life back into Caistor.'
I was the driving force. I kept saying to Roy,
"We need a museum. If we're going to have people coming here, we need a museum."
'But big dreams cost, and until now, lack of money has held them back.
'But that could be about to change.
'They've applied for a grant from the Big Lottery Fund for £400,000,
'designed to regenerate local communities.
'Today they will find out if they've been successful.
'Everything hinges on one phone call.
'It's a big moment for Roy, Alan and a dedicated group of local volunteers,
'including local barmaid Kate Gallaghan.'
It's a shame that such a beautiful building isn't utilised. It'd be great to give it a new life.
'If the bid is successful, Alan's vision of displaying his collection of local heritage will come true.'
It's good for the community. I'm sure it is.
'And Roy's dream of putting the life back into Caistor might just become a reality.'
I'm excited, really. Hoping that we've been successful in our bid.
'Although Roy moved away from Caistor,
'he returned with his wife and fellow volunteer Carol nearly 18 years ago
'and found his childhood home on its knees.'
We moved back here about '93
and he couldn't believe what the little village was like, so run down,
and he just said to me, "I've got to start and put something back"
and he's been working at it ever since.
'They all know that if the next phone call is positive,
'it could change their lives and the future of Caistor forever.'
"I'm ringing to tell you that it is good news."
You know, I like to see people winning.
And then tears start running down my face. I'm just that sort of person.
'Roy and Carol live in the heart of Caistor.
'They both know just how important it will be to get this project right.'
Caistor is a place that has a very vibrant community spirit.
And this project is going to emphasise that community spirit and make it even greater.
I'll hit you round the head with my leek.
'Roy's in charge of the project, but Carol will never be far from his side.'
Roy is the sort of person you cannot argue with
because he remains very, very calm, which makes you even more frustrated,
and I've had to really learn to deal with that. Give us a kiss.
'Roy hopes that his dream for a heritage centre will bring the community together.'
Yes, that's an interesting photograph. We think that's the Golden Jubilee or something.
It just gives an example of what can happen in a place like Caistor,
where people get together on a regular basis and enjoy themselves.
That's sort of disappeared over the years
and certainly as the town deteriorated,
that sort of community spirit deteriorated, as well, and disappeared.
'Roy and Carol won't be alone.
'One of the terms of the grant means they must employ a full-time business mentor
'who will move to Caistor for one year to help get the project off the ground.
'And that comes in the form of 28-year-old Charlotte Hastings,
'a marketing manager for London Fashion Week.
'But she's ready to put fashion behind her.'
I found myself becoming a bit mean and a bit short.
I needed something with real substance.
# Suddenly I see
# This is what I want to be
'So she's trading in her London life and will be paid to work in Caistor for one year.'
This project is definitely about putting Caistor on the map in a big way.
It's a massive advantage to have someone who brings fresh eyes to it,
who gets how things work nationally and globally
and says, "I need a reason to go to Caistor."
'With only a year to complete the project, Charlotte will be working on London time.'
I know that my kind of whirlwind, blitz approach
might rub a few people up the wrong way,
but I see it as the only way that this is going to happen in the timeline.
'Charlotte might well be in for a culture shock when she first arrives in the square.'
It's actually got masses of potential. It's got a really pretty town centre.
But there's nothing really that would make somebody want to be here
and spend £200,000 on that really very pretty four-bedroom house,
because there's not a heart, there's not a centre, there's not somewhere for everyone to go and meet
and feel like they belong here.
'Just off the square sits the building Caistor hopes will answer their prayers.
'Today I'm meeting Roy and one of his early recruits, Kate.
'They're going to show me around the chapel.'
-Nice to meet you.
-And this is the amazing building.
-It is. Fantastic, isn't it?
-It's in great condition
-from the outside.
-It is. I'm amazed how well it's survived over the years.
Goodness, look at this!
-It's big, isn't it?
'Build in 1867, the chapel stopped being used as a place of worship in the 60s.
'Kate remembers it when it was a youth club a few years ago.'
It used to be... In there was a kitchen and we have a counter and it was more like a reception area.
It is going to be a multi-use space in here which can be transformed depending on what event we have.
-So people might be able to rent it or they could hold clubs in here.
And then this huge room next door. This is wonderful!
This was the main auditorium for the Methodists when they were coming to chapel.
And it's a big space, much bigger than I realised.
It seems rather a terrible shame that a building like this has been left empty for two years.
'A new government initiative is making it possible for the chapel,
'that's owned by the council, to be leased by the community.
'One condition of that lease is that they re-house the local library.'
As you can see, we've had it stripped out.
-All we found was a bit of woodworm, I think, in one or two places,
and that's already been treated. We've done that already.
It looks really sound, the building, which is great. It's just the interior.
Considering how old it is, it's survived very well.
'The plan is to completely change the interior.
'With libraries all over the country under threat of closure,
'this is a timely project.
'As well as being a home to Caistor's 2,000 books,
'the centre will also fulfil Alan's dream of showcasing 10,000 years of local history.
'Beyond the library, at the front of the building, the floor will be dug out
'and a modern cafe will be the hub of the chapel.
'The cafe's profits will fund the project,
'so it needs to be a successful business
'and become a major meeting spot for the locals of Caistor and for visitors.
'Getting the balance right between arts, heritage and profit is essential.
'It's an ambitious plan and much of its success lies on Charlotte's shoulders.
'Today Charlotte is leaving London to live and work in the countryside for one year.
It's a really happy community I'm going to be a part of. I'm really looking forward to it.
# Little village, baby
# Ain't large enough to be a town
# From a little village, baby
# Ain't large enough to be a town
'Charlotte's new home is a flat above the local infant school.'
# Got to get away from the city
Oh, my gosh!
Oh, I'm going to cry!
"Welcome to our school."
'On arrival, Charlotte's greeted by Kate and six burly Caistor men.'
-Oh, my gosh!
-'It's a far cry from London, where she doesn't even know her neighbours.'
There's, like, strapping, handsome young men
who form a chain and everything's up here within, like, ten minutes.
I really feel welcomed.
There are lots of chairs.
Well, that's cos I'm expecting lots of people.
It's always a big deal when we've got a new younger person here.
I've no doubt that Charlotte's going to fit in amazingly.
I think she'll bring a bit of city life to Caistor,
but Caistor will bring a lot of country life to Charlotte, as well.
'Charlotte's new back yard is part of the Viking Way,
'one of England's most famous walking routes.
'For someone who's used to working in London's busy fashion scene, Charlotte is a long way from home.'
And this is the Viking Walkway, isn't it, up here?
-Yep, this is known as the Viking Walkway, which goes all the way to the coast.
-Incredibly beautiful, isn't it?
-Yeah, it's stunning.
It's a big move considering... Most people would make this kind of move when they got married and had kids,
but to move here as a single girl is quite a brave thing to do.
What is it that lit the flame and made you think, "Yeah, I'll do that"?
I spent six years working in fashion and luxury
and I was just fed up of money being the thing that mattered
and wanted to have something where I felt like I'd be proud to tell people I was doing it
and that I could look in the mirror and be pleased with how I'm spending my time.
-What is your vision of the project?
-It's converting this chapel into a space that will be the library,
a cafe and workshop space, a place that will offer something for everyone in the community.
At the moment, in town, we've got a fish and chips place,
a pizza shop, but there's a huge demographic here of mums and children and families
and I'm sure that the audience is there for really good, healthy food
and amazing coffee, if I have my way.
If not, I might pack my case and head back to London. SHE LAUGHS
'It's day one of Charlotte's new job.
'Instead of a busy London commute, it's just a stroll to work.
'But Caistor centre is not quite the village paradise she had in mind.'
It's a great square. It should be thriving with loads going on
and lots of people around and lots of fun things.
It's a place that people just go through.
It just feels like a car park. And as soon as I go to my house
or out into the hills, then I start to really fall in love with this place.
But, actually, when I come here, it gets me down.
Charlotte has just one year to help the people of Caistor
turn Roy's vision of an arts and heritage centre into a profitable business.
Despite having no experience of village life or voluntary projects,
she's going to have to find a way of marrying her vision for profitable success
with the wants and needs of the residents.
'Her first job is to take over the business plan.
'It secured the Big Lottery funding
'and until now has been in the hands of Roy and local business advisor Angela.'
They've got to see this as a landmark
that gives people a reason to come here when they would never have thought of it,
or when they've been before and would never come back, give them a reason to come back.
'But Charlotte has her own ideas for making the centre a success
'and using the county library colour scheme isn't one of them.
'No matter what it says in the plan.'
Do we know what constraints we have got with the library?
From early conversations, they were implying that they had to have these colour things on the carpet.
I don't want our centre to just feel like a library. I wouldn't want their decor for the whole centre.
I just thought they looked fab and I was really encouraged that there'll be bringing something in
-that does look modern and fresh.
-It feels like any council office you go into, just off the peg.
Yeah. To me, the way the library looks is so modern and fresh.
At the end of the day, we want something that works and look appropriate.
I hope it comes quite naturally and is what we want, a really superb centre.
Everyone sees this centre differently.
I just know that we're going to have battles every step of the way! SHE LAUGHS
-This is why I need to know who can make the decisions,
and I'd quite like it to be me. SHE LAUGHS
We need someone like Charlotte that's got definite views
and good ideas.
She's full of enthusiasm, which is what we were really looking for.
I don't know what we'd be doing without her if we didn't have her.
Charlotte, bless her, is full of ideas and I think she'll bring a lot to the table,
but I think she'll learn a lot, as well, probably not least the fact that when you deal with community,
you do have to listen and take other people's ideas on board.
'Today Roy, Charlotte and the first recruits are organising a big volunteer drive,
'an open day to showcase what they hope will be on offer in the new arts and heritage centre.
'They want to keep the locals updated on plans and get some feedback.
'Charlotte's main focus is proving that Caistor has a thirst for cappuccinos.
'Kate is learning the ropes on the coffee machine as a trainee barista.
'Parents will be asked to vote for instant coffee or cappuccinos using their empty cups.'
-How's it going?
I think five cappuccinos, please.
How far do you have to go at the moment to get a decent coffee?
Market Rasen would be the nearest place, and that's nine miles away.
-So this is going to be revolutionising Caistor.
And I think it's really important that we do distinguish ourselves
and we do get good at this and we do make great coffee.
'Nine miles is a long way to drive for a decent coffee.
'Seems to me like there's a ready-made market.'
We go to Grimsby, Lincoln, Brigg, so we travel quite a way
for a girls' get-together when we don't have the children with us, which is lovely.
-Are you going to be active users of the centre?
-Yes. I think so.
-We would be active users.
-Active coffee drinkers!
-Yeah, ladies what lunch, definitely!
'It looks like, for today at least, the cappuccinos have it.'
-The point was, you had to vote with your cup.
-No-one wants instant coffee.
-That was the objective.
Let the coffee go through for about 25, 26 seconds.
'The centre will rely on volunteers to run it.
'Today Carol's persuaded ten people to sign up.'
I've spoken to another three or four people who I didn't even know.
No, it's been really good talking to loads of people that haven't known anything about it.
It's been really intensive, telling people what we're doing.
If people have bite-size, fun ways to get involved and get stuck in,
look at Kate on the coffee machine, she's loved it, she's learned something new and it's fun!
If we can make volunteering like that, fantastic.
What you need for that to happen is plenty of people coming through the door, plenty of things to do
and to be giving people opportunities to grow and learn and we should be doing that.
'But for Alan Dennis, there's a bigger priority. Once head teacher of this school,
'he hopes the centre will be a museum where he can teach Caistor's Roman heritage.'
-Hello, I'm Sarah! Nice to meet you!
So, you know, showing the children that. Do you know what it is?
-It's a pilgrim's little vase for collecting holy water.
-Oh, my goodness!
-Yeah. So did he come to a spring here,
or she come to a spring here, to collect the water and lose that?
-So how old is this?
-About 700 years old.
That's 700 years old and, what, is in someone's shed?
-We found it in the grammar school, in the grounds.
-Just in the floor?
Wouldn't it be fantastic to put all of this together so that people know what it is
-Just to be able to be aware.
'There's no doubt Alan's emphasis on history is important.
'Although Caistor has some remains of a Roman wall,
'many of its valuable object have been shut away in garden sheds and garages.
'Not for long. It's Tuesday morning in Caistor
'and Alan's giving a history lecture to a group of locals.'
They say it was the house for Caistor people.
-'And he never passes up the chance to find more artefacts.'
If you do hear of people who've got things, anything,
even if we can just photograph it and be aware of it, then we'd be grateful.
Well, my dream's always been to have a heritage centre,
and this project has given us that opportunity,
so when Big gave us the money, I couldn't believe it. I was speechless.
My wife said it's the first time I've ever cried.
So, you know, that shows what it means to me.
'Today, ex-head teacher Alan has invited the committee to hear his ideas for the centre.
'It doesn't come without a history lesson.'
I believe in the Anglo-Saxon time, they probably lived in the fort area.
'He spent months taking photographs of the many objects he has unearthed for display.'
For schools, it's living conditions, the law, the agriculture, the religion of the time.
I'll share what I've been doing on that later on.
There was a mint. There was a siege here.
'But after an hour-long, detailed slideshow,
'it's clear not everyone shares his passion for local history.'
The centre will have to be enterprising
and has to sustain itself into the future,
so all of this needs to come from a point of, "What's going to draw people in
"and what's going to be commercially viable about this part of the centre?"
What's really good is, round that table, we had the people who are passionate about history,
they will be the people that dig deep, but they're also the ones who put together the displays
and the books and the leaflets that I go... SHE BLOWS RASPBERRY
..and put them in the bin and am not at all interested in.
And the benefit of having me is that there's no way I'm going to let stuff like that into the centre.
'Charlotte's feelings haven't gone unnoticed.'
Because it's heritage and arts, those two really have got to stand out.
Cos when people walk in, that's what they'll expect.
They'll think the cafe's nice and we hope that's going to be the fundraiser.
A lot of people will make use of the library.
But a lot know that it's the heritage they want to see.
Now, I may be proved totally wrong,
but it's a great concern for me, that with the amount of work and the effort that's gone in,
that we could actually be watering down what it's supposed to be.
'Everything hinges on how the space is divided.
'They have nine months to renovate and plan to open next April,
'so today they're meeting with their architect to find out exactly how much space
'the library, cafe and heritage sections will have.'
Put these on the counter here.
'But as the meeting progresses, Alan's concerned that the cafe is taking up valuable heritage space.'
My understanding was that the heritage would be in lots of parts of the whole centre.
I've listened to this discussion about this.
And to me, that's a fortune, where it could be simpler
to still provide refreshments
and put some of that money into heritage, et cetera.
And we've not had the discussion of what gives in this building. And nothing is giving yet.
We are looking, and the library has given a considerable amount,
so we're going from having all this shelving to looking at this
and what we need to do is look at how the heritage slots in.
'Alan's worst fears have been realised.
'It's clear the centre will have little room for heritage.'
CHURCH BELL CHIMES
'With designs agreed, the builders can move onto site.
'But Alan's still not happy about the decision-making process.'
I think we should've been encouraged
to look at our organisation, our management,
before we actually had the money.
We have. I've had my hand-over with Angela, where I look at the management structure.
We've looked at it and we're doing it. We couldn't do it faster or sooner, Alan.
-I think some of the basics we could've done.
There's just that worry
that did you understand, you know, erm...
And do you not have any trust or faith in me, Alan? If I don't understand this, fire me now,
because I don't want to be here if my director's thinking, "Does she understand?"
And I am a bit like a bull in a china shop and I'm really impatient...
-I hadn't noticed!
But it's the flip side and I think it's really difficult
when it comes across as a criticism that I'm pushy and forthright,
but equally, that's why it's an advantage because it's how it's going to happen.
'Alan's finding it too difficult to work with Charlotte
'and has decided to leave the project for good.'
I find Charlotte very forceful at times and very blunt about some of the things.
I think, erm, sometimes maybe inexperienced
in how we put things over.
So I just decided to step back.
'But Charlotte's left questioning her business-like approach
'and if it's working for the people of Caistor.'
I'm really struggling with the Alan issue.
I suppose what's really upset me is
feeling like there's this perception he has of me
as this really pushy...obnoxious,
forceful person, and it's not how I am.
Maybe it is how I am. Anyway, I think I just need to take a bit of time
and think about how I can change my behaviour
and just be a bit less of a bull in a china shop.
'With the heaviest snowfall in years,
'Caistor is cut off from the rest of the country.'
"As the snow continues to fall across Lincolnshire, the 57 between Caistor high street..."
"..largely inaccessible after several feet of snow made it impossible for traffic to get in and around."
'Despite the bad weather, building work has progressed.
'The existing height of the interior has doubled at the front
'and the original street-level entrance is now open.
'Today is the first time Roy will see the doors open in 40 years.'
-You been inside yet?
-No, not yet.
-Oh, good to see you.
-Oh, my gosh, Roy, this is amazing!
-Great! Look at the height!
Oh! It's going to be expensive to heat.
I just can't believe they've ripped out the entire floor,
we've got a door.
It's going to be a really awesome space.
I love it.
'Working in fashion, Charlotte's used to tight deadlines and Caistor is no exception.'
-Where are the cupboards going to be?
-'She's checking up on the builders daily
-'to ensure the renovation runs on time.'
'In the square, the community is gathering to see the Christmas lights switched on.'
-Can you all ring the bells?
-THEY RING BELLS
ALL: Five! Four! Three!
ALL: Two! One!
'Whilst everyone else enjoys the festivities, Charlotte wants to recruit volunteers for the centre
'which will only stay open if people step forward and offer their free time.'
-We need to hand out some leaflets, but they're in the pub.
-That's a good place!
I think that might be the best place. We should join the leaflets.
-Can I butt in a sec?
-I'm working on the project down the hill
and I'm using today as an opportunity to tell people about it.
'She hopes to spread the message that the centre is for everyone
'and by volunteering, they can make it their own.'
I feel really proud of Caistor, but I think it could be better.
We've lived in Caistor a long time and now it's completely reinvigorated.
We've got this wonderful centre and it's going to be the life and soul of Caistor, I think.
Can I give you one of my lovely leaflets?
It'll be nice to have a central point
where we can go and say, "This is our meeting tonight"
and it'll bring a lot of communities together.
I love these days when you actually get out into the community
and start talking to people and you realise that it is so needed.
'The hope is that now the people will keep their promise of volunteering in the new year.
'The building is progressing at break-neck speed and it's now just four months until launch day.
'Once open, Charlotte will be leaving her job
'and the community will run the business themselves.
'Recruiting volunteers has never been more important.
'Roy's wife Carol has recently retired and is now keen to dedicate her time to volunteering.'
Oh, my gosh! It's amazing! We've got heating!
-Doesn't it look different?
-My gosh, this is going to be our library.
-It's bigger than I thought it would be.
-Yes, it is.
We are saving the Great British library. We're creating this amazing space that everyone will use
and that they'll love. It's just brilliant.
Yeah, there's plenty of space, Roy.
'With the centre opening in just four months, Charlotte's keen for Carol to focus on the cafe.'
So the kitchen's going to be here to about there, OK?
-What do you think? You like the space?
-It's actually going to be quite cosy, isn't it?
So, Carol, how do you feel about the idea of working a couple more days a week on this project?
I'm used to organising.
I feel like the cafe's something you feel really strongly about, how everything can be done
and that you'd like to put your stamp on it. It would be great if you're willing to take that on.
-So that's a yes, then?
-That's a yes, then. Yeah, that's a yes.
-Do you think I'll be here serving?
-Come on, give us your money.
-SHE LAUGHS Face your public!
I've never run a cafe before at all.
Erm, experience is what I want to get from a cafe myself.
I want it to be somewhere for local people to come and meet their friends and have a coffee
or even sit down and read your book,
have a really nice coffee and a piece of cake. How great would that be?
'For Charlotte, letting go of the cafe
'and handing over to the locals is a double-edged sword.'
It's been my baby for a long time and now I've got to start handing it over
and letting other people take the helm in certain areas.
I'm really struggling to do that with the cafe.
Charlotte brings much passion to this project and it's fantastic
but I have to keep telling her it's not London.
'A fantastic-looking cafe will be nothing without a menu to match.
'Luckily, Lincolnshire is a jewel in the crown of the United Kingdom's food industry.
'It makes more home-grown produce than any other county in England
'and is famous worldwide for its Lincolnshire sausages.
'At the turn of the century,
'Caistor was the centre of food trade for miles around.
'Its markets were the leaders in all basic food goods.
'But nowadays, locals have to go a bit further afield.
'So today, Carol, Charlotte, Kate and a new recruit, local artist Cherry,
'are on a mission to search for food.'
We've been talking a lot about the vision of the cafe
and that we know we want it to be local and great quality,
and now is our opportunity to start exploring what supplies we should work with
and seeing the reality start to come together.
'It's a chance for the girls to indulge their taste buds in the name of business.
'From locally-sourced coffee
'to pricey chocolates.'
-This is mine.
'The team have also found locally-produced cheese
'which they hope to use in their ploughman's.'
There are two ages of cheese here.
-This one is a more mature cheese.
-Is it a premium-priced product?
Wholesale price, we're looking at £10.50 a kilo.
'With everything handmade and locally sourced,
'Carol's concerned only tourists will be able to afford it.'
If we can give the local people a reasonably-priced, excellent coffee,
then we can use those wonderful products that we've just seen
in a more premium price for a visitor.
-You know, when we have visitors coming to us from all over, really.
You get excited about going for lunch, and you're not a visitor, you're a local.
You have got a thriving local business that's saying it costs that because of the quality of the product
and that people will pay it and people do want it and that is the market we need to be in.
# It's not about the money, money, money
'It's three weeks away from build completion
'and today there's a lot happening on site,
'including fitting all the window frames, glass skylight and staircase.'
# Ch-ching, ch-ching, ain't about the...
I'm interested to see how all the different services will work in the space that they've got,
but more importantly, how their business model will fit
with the people of Caistor and their pockets.
This is all looking absolutely fantastic!
-Oh, my gosh!
'At the top of the stairs, the middle of the building has been reserved for the new library.'
You can just see! You can feel how everyone's going to move through the building.
It's a really good space for a library.
This is a really interesting way to evolve a library
because libraries are on the decline and this is a fantastic way
to have a modern interpretation of a library.
We hope it might be a bit of a unique selling point for the centre.
'Despite Roy originally wanting a museum,
'due to the cafe expansion, the history will just be focused onto one display wall.
'There's no doubt that most focus is on the cafe,
'which must make enough profit to fund the centre.'
Roy, it was your baby, this vision, really.
Are you nervous about this coming to a head, all of it? Is that scary?
It is scary, in a way. At one time, I was waking up in the middle of the night and making lists,
but you bear in mind the footfall that the library brings and the various visitors to the town...
But it's getting them on board and, quite frankly, if they don't use it, we will have a problem.
'With opening day five weeks away, Charlotte's keen to see Carol's first draft of the menu.
'She's been busy planning it with local caterer Becky Miller,
'who will take on the paid role of cafe manager when the centre opens.'
-This is really the only place to eat at the moment in Caistor, isn't it, the pub?
-Have you all eaten in here?
-This, and then there's a Chinese and a chippy.
-The pub are providing restaurant-type meals
and ours is not that, it's a snack.
-We want it to be affordable.
-So more cafe food.
I mean, this is the first page, so we've got things like pancakes, omelettes.
It looks absolutely delicious.
It seems quite cheap, I have to say.
-I like the Plough Hill Ploughman's.
-Yes, the Plough Hill Ploughman's,
On Plough Hill, of course. So that's £6.45 for a ploughman's.
I'd imagine that being £8.95
and also, for me, if you look at visitors' centres,
you've got prices of £3, £3.50 for slices of cake,
you've got your mains at, kind of, £10, £12.
And this is where we absolutely need something for the local market,
but our loss-leaders are our library and our workshops.
I think there's also that you need to recognise, that whilst the building is lovely at the moment,
the reality of a business like this is it needs to squirrel some away
to stand a chance of being here in ten years.
I'm a bit concerned that Carol's pricing is too low.
You've got to give customers value for money,
but you've also got to cover your costs.
The standard mark-up for cafe food is 400 percent,
which allows you to cover staffing costs and to make a small profit.
-'Caistor's cafe will be mainly staffed by volunteers.'
'It will need to take £300 a day to break even.
'Today the team are taking a look at the Pink Pig Farm,
'a rural shop and cafe in nearby Scunthorpe.'
-Hello, Becky. How do you do?
'They're hoping Manager Sally can shed some light on the reality of running a cafe.'
-So, cake dividers, fantastic. Bang it on the top and everyone knows where to cut.
The difference between a cake portioned into 16
-and a cake portioned into 12 is your profit.
Pricing is a really big issue for us,
and this is where we'd love a local Lincolnshire business to advise us on margins and price points.
If you're going to provide good quality food, you cannot compete with a cafe down the road.
Your proper coffee and proper milk is not going to be the same as a cappuccino out of a machine
where they press a button and it produces a, sort of, frothy stuff.
'After hearing all they need to hear,
'Charlotte hopes Carol and Becky are now more comfortable with pricing their food a bit higher.'
We've got to be careful, we've said we think we're going to get support from the local people in Caistor
so we need to not cut them out of the market.
-You're looking at a multiple of four on your pricing.
-A 400 percent margin is what we're looking at to make this work.
But I hope that the people who get involved with the cafe understand,
when you talk about 400 percent that that's not 400 percent profit.
What do you say when someone says, "Gosh, that's a bit steep"?
You say, "When you're working out your prices, you have to bear in mind
"about a third is your overheads for staff, about 20 percent is VAT, and that's not..."
And then you've got a figure for your overheads of the building,
-all the running costs, electricity...
-Yes. That's business.
I'm hoping that Carol is completely happy now, that she could, if someone came into the cafe and said,
"That's a bit pricey," that she could say, "Well, this is why."
'As late spring arrives the building gets its finishing touches.'
Look at it!
Oh, well done, chaps!
It's all in.
Just look at those windows. Look at the street scene. I want to look in the kitchen!
Gosh, it looks nice.
Oh, that's a good storage cupboard.
'With opening day in just a week, supplies are arriving
'and everyone must pull together as they move into the building.
-'Everyone is making themselves at home.'
'Well, almost everyone.
'Today, Caistor's biggest history buff, Alan Dennis, is returning to the arts and heritage centre.
'Despite the project starting as his dream for a museum,
'his years of research have been displayed on one timeline,
'which takes visitors through Caistor's history from 8,000 BC to current day.
'This is the first time Alan will see the timeline and be reunited with Charlotte.'
-What do you reckon?
-Brilliant! It's really great.
-Not complete yet, but...
-Oh, I thought it was.
-Even I find it interesting, Alan.
You must be ill.
Do you think it feels like a heritage centre?
-Do you think we've got enough for it to feel...
It's going to need a lot of work to go to where I'd like it to be.
'So to ensure it's the heritage centre he had in mind, Alan is now ready to mark his territory.'
It seems like today, having not seen Alan for about four months,
he's happily moving into his new home for the heritage of Caistor.
And there are little bits and pieces turning up on the window ledges and by the computers.
I really don't know what they are.
Anyway, it's nice to see him happy and enjoying himself.
That sounds really bitchy.
It wasn't quite the vision I'd got,
but I've got to say that the timeline is just fantastic,
the map is startling as you go in. We've got to go from there, and that's what I'm doing today,
is to see if we can get some more artefacts around and start to make it a heritage centre.
'In just two days, Team Caistor are planning an opening party to show off the centre to the community.
'To ensure they're ready, today is the day when Caistor's volunteers will get some training.
'There's a lot to learn, including mastering the art of making a cappuccino.
'But numbers are low, and it seems the centre won't be relying on the young to volunteer,
'just the young at heart.'
In the Daily Mail today,
it said, that Duncan Smith said, "A lot of people don't want to retire at 65."
And I was one of those people, who was forced to retire by the county council.
And here I am with lots of time on my hands and wanting to do other things.
And I'm doing this as part of that.
It'd be nice to see some younger volunteers. They're the ones that haven't turned up today.
We were hoping for six and we've got three, which is disappointing,
because this is the main day Steve is here to train everyone on the baristas.
Then give it a tap, that's it.
I'm trying to figure out all the tea orders. We've got to order 120 pounds minimum
and I've got to figure out how many bags per pack and packs per... BLOWS RASPBERRY
'It's Saturday 9th April, and ten months after getting the Big Lottery grant,
'Roy is hosting a launch party for Caistor's arts and heritage sector.'
Be careful! Health and safety.
Today is just a celebration, really, of the project coming to fruition.
Next week will be our real trial run to see if people part with their cash.
But today is to acknowledge everyone's hard work.
'It will be the first time locals feast their eyes on the centre.'
-We don't want to let anybody in because they'll spoil it.
'What used to be a disused Methodist chapel
'is now a beautifully-designed multi-functional space,
'housing a combination of rural services.
'Last year, the chapel was a single-level hall, with a few dingily-lit rooms.
'But now the front section has been lowered to make a bright and airy cafe.
'The middle of the building has been transformed into a contemporary library.
'The back was little more than a few dark offices,
'but now has become a multi-use exhibition space.
'Large sections have been opened up to reveal a view right through the chapel,
'and visitors can see Caistor's history strategically-placed throughout.
'And as Caistor's people arrive, it's clear the building is as impressive as they were hoping for.
-Wonderful, isn't it, Mary?
-It'll be a tremendous focus for Caistor people.
-Just, it's awesome.
I think lots of people will use the library that have never used the library before.
-And lots of people will use the cafe, cos it's desperately needed.
-It's brought life into the village.
'With the centre filling up, it's a moment that a proud and nervous Roy has dreamed of for years.'
Good morning everyone. It's my privilege and pleasure to give you a very warm welcome
-to the official opening of 28 Plough Hill.
'Even the local councillor is keen to express his thanks to the community.'
I have to say, this is one of those projects where most of the thanks,
most of the applause, should go to you yourselves.
-'And to their business mentor, Charlotte.'
-I think this has been a great community effort.
-Charlotte is probably the most attractive bully I've ever met.
Roy, I can't say the same about you. Well done, everybody.
CHATTER AND LAUGHTER
'Outside, everyone is discussing the speeches, and not least Charlotte's new nickname.'
You are a bully. But you cracked the whip for everybody.
Absolutely. And that's what's going to happen.
There's been loads of disagreements and loads of things that...
And it actually upsets me being called a bully, cos I don't think that's close to what I've been.
I've been persistent and I've fought every step of the way.
You needed to bully people to get us to all move forward and get things done in the right time frame.
You have done your job.
I know I've done my job, I just don't like being called a bully, that's all.
I feel I've been really professional and gone the extra mile to make it happen.
-It wasn't said with malice.
-I would like to say thank you.
Thank you so much for all you've done for us. Really, thank you.
'After the excitement of launch day, it's now down to business.
'The next few weeks for Roy, Carol and Caistor will be critical.
'If the centre is going to have a future, the cafe must take £300 a day.'
-Thank you very much.
'With Charlotte's time coming to an end, the cafe's profit and loss are now Carol's responsibility.'
-So today we've done just over 250.
-Which is good.
-A bit disappointing because it felt busy at lunchtime.
-So, average sale £5.72.
-And two items.
I mean, I've certainly... Nobody has commented to me,
-"Ooh, that seems expensive?"
Which is good, cos I know we were both worried that we wanted to get the pricing right.
-There's one couple that, I think they've been in every day.
-For rocky road.
They say, every day they come in for their cup of tea and their rocky road in the afternoon.
They've had lunches, breakfasts. It's nice that we're getting people coming back already.
'It's a good start and the locals are clearly embracing their community cafe.'
There's no doubt that Charlotte has delivered a very impressive build.
But it needs almost 100 percent volunteers to keep it sustainable.
'So they need all the help they can get.'
-This is fantastic!
-It's all right, isn't it?
The number of times I've heard people walk in for the first time and go, "Wow!"
-So it's all hands on deck?
-It's all hands on deck, it's absolutely fantastic.
-We've had, erm, good sales.
'Over a busy lunchtime, it's great to see the cafe seems to be a hit with the locals.'
Good service. We want good service.
-Is this your first day volunteering?
-So it's the blind leading the blind.
-What would you like, a cappuccino?
It may be some time. OK.
-That's it, perfect. Whoa, whoa.
-There we are.
-Thank you very much.
Thank you very much indeed.
-Next? I'm loving it. Number 43?
One year on from the day Caistor got its £400,000 Lottery grant,
Caistor is saying goodbye to its business mentor.
'But is Charlotte happy with the cafe pricing, and the business model she is leaving behind?'
Let's talk about the business. Do you think it's going to cope?
For me, it's accepting it's not really necessarily going to be run as a business.
It is going to be run as a community project.
So you think it will still be here in a year's time?
Look at the numbers, see how many customers have been through the door and what they bought.
The coffee is selling. The ploughman's is selling. Yes, they'll have to play with that menu a bit.
I think it will definitely be here in a year's time.
It's whether it will be everything it could be in the next year or two.
Would you do this again? If you got the option to go to Shropshire tomorrow and start all over again?
To work in an environment where there's that balance, of it being a job,
but also something where you're surrounded by people who are all really committed to it
and making something happen because they're passionate about it, that has been such a privilege.
And once you've had that,
it will be really hard to go back to an office job, or...
Goodness knows where I go from here.
You were described as "an attractive bully",
do you think that's how you'll be remembered in Caistor?
Hopefully they'll remember more of the attractive and less of the bully. SHE LAUGHS
'The responsibility for the centre staying afloat
'now ultimately rests on the shoulders of its new manager, Roy.'
This whole project started when you and Alan had this dream for a heritage centre for Caistor.
-And it's come on an incredibly long journey to get to this point.
We haven't got quite as much heritage inside the building yet.
But do you think that what you've ended up with is more diverse?
Cos if it was just a heritage centre, you'd only have historians,
but now, you've got people who just happen to like cappuccinos in,
-and they might find out about the history of Caistor.
-You're absolutely right.
And over the months, I've been converted from a true museum buff if you like,
into accepting what we've got and realising that this works.
-Has this grant and this community project put the heart back into Caistor?
-Yeah, I think it has.
Certainly, bringing this building back into use, and it was deteriorating and at some point
it would've fallen down, and people are coming, on a regular basis.
-So, in 50 years' time, people will know about the history of Caistor, because of you.
-Because of us, yeah.
Yep. That's great. Couldn't be better.
'With everything packed, it's time for Charlotte to finally leave behind her life in Caistor.'
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
'It's clear she's left her mark on this rural community.'
-This is you on the road.
That's amazing! Thank you!
-I hope this is a really good memory for you to keep.
-Oh, my goodness!
-You can't buy that.
-You certainly can't.
-Worth a million.
I just wanted to say, "Dear Caistor, thank you for giving me the biggest challenge
"and the most fantastic opportunity of my life so far, and..." Actually I don't know if I can.
SHE WEEPS It's been incredible. And Roy, you've been the best boss.
"Thank you for giving me the biggest challenge and most fantastic opportunity of my life so far.
-"It's been a privilege. Thank you."
-It really has.
CORK POPS / THEY CHEER
-Are you staying, Sarah?
-I'm taking over now, I'm the new centre manager.
-Well done, Roy, you talked her into it!
Today this arts and heritage centre looks great, and Caistor certainly has got its beating heart.
'The passion of these villagers has driven turning this once-crumbling chapel
'into a thriving cafe, with a library that has gained more than 150 new members since opening.
'The space is drawing in the whole community to enjoy these wonderful new facilities.'
But the root of most of the dilemmas over the last 12 months
has been the balance between local desire and cold, hard business.
If this place is going to continue to grow to be the vibrant,
cultural hub of this market town, it has to make a profit.
The next year is going to be just as hard as the last.
But if they get it right,
the locals may never have to leave Caistor for a cappuccino again.
'If you've been inspired to create a community project in your area,
'and want to find out about the grants available,
'and how to apply, or if you want an update
'on the Caistor arts and heritage centre, go to:
'When the village of Myddfai has to demolish its past
'to secure its future...'
This is a village that needs to keep its traditions, isn't it?
It's over to you guys whether it's a success or not in the long term.
'..can a traditional community come to terms with change? Or will it pull them apart?'
Explain to people. Explain to people what's going on.
If I've been seen as the representative of change, so be it.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
E-mail [email protected]
Sarah Beeny follows a passionate group of locals as they spend a year trying to rescue their community. When the residents of Caistor in Lincolnshire applied for a grant from the Big Lottery Fund to create a local arts and heritage centre, they had no idea what was in store. The locals may be proud of their history, but will it really pull in enough tourists to keep the business afloat?