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Wiltshire village shop gets thumbs-up from customers
3:52pm Tuesday 10th September 2013 in Wiltshire
A VILLAGE shop run for the community by the community has received a big thumbs up from its customers.
Kington St Michael Village Shop’s committee, which started in 2007, distributed a questionnaire last month to all 300 homes in the parish. Just over half responded and feedback was said to be overwhelmingly positive.
Chairman Rick Squires said: “After six years we wanted to know what we are doing right and wrong. We got a huge amount of support for carrying on what we are doing. It was agreed that the shop adds value to the local community and provides one of the major focal points of the village.
“People particularly liked that we took over the Post Office; more and more people are buying on eBay so we get a lot of parcels.”
The shop used to be run by a private individual with income from the Post Office. When it was threatened with closure, the parish council started a committee to save it, with Community First and Plunckett Foundation helping to cover the initial costs.
Royal Mail shut its branch there in 2008 and there has been a post point run by the community ever since, for which Royal Mail charges £950 a year.
The shop, run as an Industrial and Provident Society, is manned by volunteers – 19 regulars and another 10 who can be called upon when needed. Others do the buying and cleaning and all of them work for free.
Mr Squires said: “It is what community spirit is all about. We keep quite a few villagers out of mischief!”
He said the shop was supported by 100 shareholders but after the interest generated by the questionnaire it gained another 25.
Almost a third of the country’s 303 community-owned shops are in the South West, said the Plunckett Foundation. Head of front- line James Alcock said: “Community shops demonstrated considerable resilience in 2012 during a time of challenge to many parts of the economy and society. No community-owned shops closed anywhere in the UK.”
Kington St Michael’s shop sells local produce, including jam and chutney produced in the village itself.
It is looking for a new manager to oversee the day-to-day running four to six hours a week, as Avril Balmforth is retiring after five years in the role.
Mr Squires said: “We’re looking for someone a bit younger as it would suit someone with kids at school.”
Full training and an honorarium will be provided. Call the shop on (01249) 750671.
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