Thorncombe villagers celebrate success of community shop

SAVIOURS: Thorncombe villagers who saved their shop from closure

SAVIOURS: Thorncombe villagers who saved their shop from closure

First published in News Dorset Echo: Photograph of the Author by

VILLAGERS are celebrating the success of the shop they saved from closure.

And this week the people of Thorncombe are also celebrating Community Shops Fortnight.

Residents refused to accept the loss of their shop and post office when they were threatened five years ago.

Now they can boast a team of around 30 volunteers who support two paid employees who work in the well-supported shop, patronised by locals and visitors.

When the inhabitants of Thorncombe were faced with losing their shop and post office, a team of volunteers got together to help the parish council buy it so that it could remain open and go on benefiting the community. They were given support from West Dorset District Council and the Plunkett Foundation.

Volunteers help in the shop and behind the scenes to organise events, monthly newsletters, encourage shoppers through social networks and keep the website updated.

Last year, thanks to a throw-away comment on a volunteer’s Facebook page, rumours hit the national press that Brad Pitt had dropped by.

Shop volunteer Phil Gordon said: “Sadly unfounded, it turned out to be someone who just looked a lot like him, but everyone is living in hope that the real one might pop in soon.”

The shop runs special promotions on a regular basis, including tastings.

There is also a popular coffee shop attached, a regular visit by ‘Phil the Fish’ selling just-caught fish from down the road in Lyme Regis, and the introduction of a weekly ‘pop-up restaurant’ has proved very popular.

The shop also has its own Facebook page and twitter account @thorncombe_shop.

It’s not just locals that use the shop. Thorncombe is in the middle of a popular area for tourists, cyclists and walkers, who regularly use it.

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