Community celebrates the first birthday of the shop they saved from closure

Dorset Echo: SAVED: The Rev Jo Neary cuts the cake watched by Sue Williams, Mandy Crane, Jane Sloman and Fraser Hughes SAVED: The Rev Jo Neary cuts the cake watched by Sue Williams, Mandy Crane, Jane Sloman and Fraser Hughes

A SHOP that was saved by the community it serves has celebrated its first birthday.

And at a meeting to discuss whether the village wanted to try and buy Broadwindsor Community Store under the ‘right to bid’ legislation the majority said they were happy with the shop where and how it is.

Around 80 people attended the meeting at the Comrades Hall to decide whether to show interest in bidding for the building which has been registered as a community asset.

Fraser Hughes, the chairman of the shop committee said one of the problems was not knowing when the property in the Square will come to market or for how much.

He said it would certainly mean residents would need to raise more – on top of the money already put into the shop in Drimpton Road – as well as seeking grants and loans. Any bid would have to be in submitted by August 7 with the funds in place.

The vast majority of people at the meeting were very satisfied with the current shop, its operation and the service it provided and were worried about a move back to the Square.

Although there was a show of hands in favour of retaining the status quo, the committee felt it ought to find out more before rejecting the opportunity to bid.

It has therefore decided to advise West Dorset District Council that it wishes to be considered a potential bidder.

The shop in the old telephone exchange in Drimpton Road was created by the community after the shop in the Square closed in 2011.

The shop celebrated its first birthday with a pancake party and a cake, cut by the vicar, the Rev Jo Neary. Shop manager Sue Williams made pancakes and samples of the shop’s own-label products – cookies, wine and pickle – were also given away.

Mr Hughes said: “In twelve months, the new shop has become a real focal point for the community. It has been a tremendous success and that’s down to the support and active involvement of local people.

“The shop is always really busy and we’re proud of the range of products and services we offer. It’s been a triumph of local endeavour.”

Last year, the stores won the people’s project category in the Dorset Best Villages Awards.

The finance to open the shop was raised from donations, grants and a share issue, to which more than 200 local people subscribed. Chalk & Cheese also awarded a grant.

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