And a very happy birthday to the village shop

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The old telephone exchange nudges up to a couple of houses and the primary school playing field, just off the centre of the village.

This is where our award-winning shop is tucked away. It’s doing a roaring trade despite its tiny floor space.

From tomato puree to fresh meat and shoelaces to tights, the community stores has all kinds of everything on its shelves and a range of services.

In the past twelve months,  PayPoint has been introduced so customers can pay their utility bills, top-up pre-payment keys and mobile phones.

Run by an army of volunteers, corralled by the manager and his assistant, the shop is a treasure trove, a shining beacon of triumph over adversity. This is the place that opened three years ago when all hope of resurrecting our defunct shop in the village square crashed and burned.

It’s all thanks to some quick work by locals and support of organisations such as The Plunkett Foundation who say: “Community shops are sustainable, democratic forms of businesses that succeed where commercial ventures have failed.

“In a climate that sees around four hundred commercial village shops close each year, community-owned shops not only represent a better form of business, they directly respond to some of the key challenges facing rural communities today like lack of services and isolation.”

I make no apology if this sounds like an advert for community enterprise because our village shop (and all who sail in her) is just brilliant. This Saturday, the shop celebrates its third birthday.

It’s not only convenient having a shop just down the road, it also boosts house prices, which is great if you want to sell although not so good if you want to buy. Community living comes at a price.

Shops and pubs, churches, schools and village halls are at the centre of rural life. Long may it continue.

Thanks to photographer Nathalie, who is a volunteer at the shop, for the photos.

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One thought on “And a very happy birthday to the village shop

  1. Until we moved into town, we lived at Pondside, in the country. Our community called itself a ‘community’, but with no post office, shop or service of any kind it was really a fake community – a lot of land where people lived and from which people drove for every sort of service. I applaud your village for its solution to the shop problem. Happy Anniversary to all those volunteers!

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