Dick Moules, Chairman of Humshaugh Village Shop says: "The Lottery money we received really gave us the confidence to launch this project and it has gone from strength to strength ever since. The shop is run entirely by volunteers so reaching the semi-finals of The National Lottery Awards is a big pat on the back for everyone involved and a lovely reward for their hard work. We’d absolutely love to make it to the finals so we hope people will support us and make the effort to vote.”
When the local post office in the small village of Humshaugh closed early in 2009, residents were concerned that the local shop, which shared the premises, would be next. “We were worried that without a shop, people would stop moving here and the village would become dormant,” recalls Humshaugh Community Ventures Limited Chairman Dick Moules. The community had already fought a tough but unsuccessful fight to stop the Post Office closure so the villagers decided the only thing to do was to band together again to save their shop.
A grant from the Lottery was put towards the £40,000 lease and refurbishment of the shop, and in November 2009, Humshaugh’s local store reopened as a shop run for the community by the community. Eighteen months later, and Humshaugh Community Shop is thriving. It sells a range of products including lots of local produce and even surplus fruit, vegetables and plants that villagers have grown in their gardens – the popular ‘crop for the shop’ initiative. “We’ll stock anything that anyone asks for,” says Dick.
The shop has become a real community hub and is staffed entirely by volunteers. “Their enthusiasm and commitment means we don’t require a paid employee,” says Dick. With over 50 people giving up their time to work in the shop for a few hours a week, everything is running smoothly and customers are flocking. “It’s a chance to have a good chat with people, get the local gossip and talk to the neighbours you might otherwise not engage with,” says Dick.
Such a vibrant atmosphere and lack of need for paid staff means the shop is now trading with a profit every year, and this money is ploughed back into the community, with grants of £5,000 being given out twice a year. So far, profits have paid for new windows in the village hall, equipment for pre-school and afterschool clubs and an environmental project to monitor swallows in the village. The committee behind the shop is currently looking into green projects like using biomass and hydro-electric power and were also recently able to save the village pub from closure, taking over the tenancy for a few months until a new buyer was found. “Without the funding we could be a village with no pub or shop,” says Dick. “It’s amazing how one little project can spark so much more.”
For more information visit www.humshaughshop.co.uk
The Humshaugh Village Shop was funded by The Big Lottery Fund
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