Volunteers Raise £487,800 To Help Southampton Bookstore Relocate

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Volunteers Raise £487,800 To Help Southampton Bookstore Relocate

| Updated: July 9, 2024 17:12

Rent hike pushes Southampton bookstore to the brink

Approximately 250 people formed a human chain to assist October Books, a community bookshop, in relocating to a new store. The bookshop faced financial challenges due to a rent hike, rendering their previous premises unaffordable.

Volunteers gathered last Sunday to transport over 2,000 books across a 150-meter distance to the bookshop’s new location—a former bank building. October Books successfully purchased this space using funds raised through donations and loans. The book stock will now be housed in the building’s old vault.

Clare Diaper, an employee at October Books, expressed gratitude: “It was a tremendous show of support and community, and we’re deeply moved by it. We exist for our community, and witnessing this reciprocation is truly heartening.”

Jani Franck, who participated in the human chain, marvelled at the collective effort: “It’s amazing. The power of community coming together and achieving something like this. October Books have done exceptionally well. I’m in awe.”

Founded in 1977, October Books describes itself as a “radical bookshop cooperative named after the Russian Revolution.” For 15 years, it operated from its previous location before the recent move became necessary due to rising rent costs. The bookshop launched a funding drive, seeking donations and repayable loans from both the community and financial institutions.

In August, they successfully raised £487,800 to purchase a former NatWest building. Volunteers were subsequently called upon to help transport the book inventory.

Ian Rothwell, the investment manager at Cooperative and Community Finance, emphasized the significance of long-established bookshops like October Books: “They hold a special place in the hearts of local residents. By repurposing the old bank for community use, that bond will only grow stronger.”

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