Villagers decide what will be stocked in new community shop

A community shop in Worcestershire is set to open in May following a highly successful share issue and financial assistance from The Co‐operative Loan Fund.

The Alfrick & Lulsley Community Shop will be based in the Alfrick village hall car park in a modular building until a more permanent structure can be built.

Local food producers are being invited to bring their wares to a tasting session on 10 March so villagers can sample and decide what products they would like stocked in the new shop.

50 volunteers who are already involved in preparations for the running of the shop will also have a say in what the shop will stock and its opening hours. The volunteers meet every month and will, in the next two sessions, be receiving training in first aid and food hygiene.

The idea for the community shop was first discussed in March 2011 when a public meeting was held to consider the implications of the closure of the last shop in the village.

A steering committee was formed, and a survey they carried out revealed a high level of support for developing a community shop and showed a large number of potential volunteers.

In September a share offer was launched with a stand at the Alfrick and Lulsley Show. The share offer was successful, and the target was reached before the 1 November deadline.

Phase one of the project – setting up a shop in a temporary building is totally funded and plans are afoot for phase two – a purpose built shop. This has been made possible by grant funding and the loan.

Alan Soper, chairman of the shop, said: “These would have been impossible to secure without the £18,000 raised directly from our villages and the more than 150 people who have become shareholders in the project.”

Ian Taylor of The Co‐operative Loan Fund said: “What is really interesting is how quickly they have achieved everything. This is down to excellent organisational skills and their activity in the local community. They also carried out thorough research and got advice from other operating shops.”