Community shop set to bring new life to Devon Village

A new village shop in Devon that will be part of an ambitious community hub is set to be completed in June, thanks to finance from The Co‐operative loan Fund.

The building of the new co‐operatively owned store in the village of Ilsington on the eastern flanks of Dartmoor National Park started in February and a grand opening is expected in July.

The local community were prompted into action when the previous village store closed three years ago.
The shop, which will be a new build extension on the existing village hall, will also serve as a part time Post Office, coffee bar and meeting point.

Alan Hobbs, co‐chairman of the Ilsington Village Shop Association, said: “The community are completely behind the project and have supported it since the beginning. We are a close knit village but the shop has been something that has been missing.”

The Ilsington Village Shop Association has been working closely with the owner of the previous shop to develop a comprehensive stock and supplier list.

Local farmers and retailers, who used to supply the original shop, have attended regular community markets at the village hall to raise money for the build, maintain a connection with past customers, and keep the Ilsington Village Shop in the forefront of people’s minds.

Recruitment for a part time paid shop manager has begun and a team of 40 volunteers have come forward to help with the running of the shop. The team will also be asking for feedback from the villagers so that in the future they can stock the products that they want.

The extension to the village hall will also include a meeting room that will be used for educational purposes and there are also plans for a health clinic. Additional services will also be added including a dry cleaning facility and a tourism centre.

Ian Taylor of The Co‐operative Loan Fund, said: “Ilsington is another example of a local community finding a co‐operative solution to an increasingly common business problem. Every year we are helping more community owned village shops.”