Community shop marks go-ahead with celebrity food fayre

July 17, 2017

The Shop at Crowle is a new community enterprise in the village, supported by The Prince's Countryside Fund, has won planning consent for its proposed site near Crowle Parish Hall. On Sunday 2 July, Masterchef food critic, Charles Campion opened a free food-tasting Fayre at the hall for local residents to sample and choose which products from local farmers and suppliers they would like the shop to stock.

More than 200 local people from Crowle and the surrounding villages packed into the hall to hear about the venture and to try the products of more than 20 local producers, including sausages, savouries, bread, cheeses, chutneys and pickles, cakes, biscuits, jams, ice cream, beer, cider, wine, fruit juice and more.

It will cost £88,200 to set up the shop, which will be a 50 foot x 20 foot timber-clad building on the site of Crowle Parish Hall and will be run entirely for the benefit of the local community. Already, grants have been secured for £43,750, which includes £29,750 from The Prince’s Countryside Fund. Helen Aldis, Manager of the Fund, said: “We are delighted to support Crowle community shop. Not only will it provide a convenient place for local people to shop, but also it will be a new social meeting place where the community can come together. This will make an important and sustainable contribution to the quality of life of those who live and work in the area.”

Other grants have been provided by Severn Waste Environmental Fund (£9,000); Wychavon District Councils Community Grants Scheme (£3,000); County Councillors’ Discretionary Fund (£1,000), Crowle Parish Council (£1,000) and further grant applications are awaiting approval.

Traditional fundraising activities, including auctions of promises, a late summer ball, raffles, cake sales etc. will raise some £5,000 and funding of £30,000 is now being sought from members of the community, who are being invited to buy shares in the shop at £10 each. Share-owners will have membership of the shop’s community benefit society and mean they can stand for election to its management committee. One or two part-time, paid managers will staff the shop unless any suitably qualified ‘volunteer managers’ step forward. More than 70 volunteers have already come forward to offer their help with setting up the shop, 40 of whom, of all ages, have volunteered to serve in the shop.

Stephen Denne, retired business consultant from Crowle, who heads the shop’s project management team, which brings a wealth of professional expertise to the scheme, says that the community shop has inspired many residents from the local area:

“The shop is a really exciting new project,” he said. ” And our research, which showed that there is a lot of demand for it, has been borne out by the tremendous response we have had both from volunteers coming forward and also local people, who have enjoyed the Fayre on Sunday and want to use the shop.

“The shop is going to bring so many benefits to people in our area. It will give local people easy access, without using a car, to convenience items, as well as products from over 20 local suppliers and farmers, which, in turn will boost rural businesses, create new jobs and be good for the environment. We are looking to offer a local home delivery service, with telephone ordering, for those that can’t get out easily. And the shop will help to combat isolation, by being a new community-hub – for shoppers, but also for those who work there. It will provide CV-enhancing, training and development opportunities, especially for young, or disadvantaged people or those looking to return to work.”

Subject to fundraising, the shop is expected to open in early 2018.