Feckenham Community Shop
In 2006, Feckenham was producing its Parish Plan, a document that sets out how residents want their community to develop in the future and during the consultation it was discovered that what people most wanted was a village shop. They wanted the convenience, an opportunity to buy local produce and a place where they could pop out and meet people.
It had been 20 years since the village last had a shop but villagers were determined this was what they wanted and they set up the Feckenham Community Shop Association Limited to achieve this.
The Plunkett Foundation, which offers advice and funding through its Village CORE programme, advised villagers that this was the best legal structure through which to set up the shop, one known as an Industrial and Provident Society for the Benefit of the Community.
Feckenham ShopThere are now about 300 such community-owned rural shops in the UK and this number is growing by about 20 each year but this was to be the first such enterprise in Worcestershire.
Worcestershire County Council supported the villagers in finding funding for the shop, including awarding them a grant towards it and advising them on other opportunities to gain awards, and many fund-raising events were held in the village.
West Mercia Housing Association helped by providing volunteers to paint the building which is rented from a local businessman.
Where we are now
The shop opened in 2009 and is manned by a team of 80 volunteers from within the village and surrounding hamlets with all profits going back into the business and also being used to support other village groups.
The shop is booming with success and offers local produce, groceries and household essentials, a deli counter and a coffee shop. Customers get free wifi and the shop opens for seven days a week. Recruitment of volunteers is on-going.
Feckenham Shop in summerTestimonials
John Calvert, chairman of the board of the Feckenham Community Shop Association Limited, said:
"When a village loses its store, it loses its focal point. Something is missing from its heart. It is about more than commerce. It is about community."
Maureen Shepherd, who is on the Board, said:
“One of the things that makes it so much fun is that everybody works together as a team, they come in, they have ideas, they get shared. There’s no ceremony, no hierarchy, they just all muck in and get on with what needs to be done.”
To volunteer at Feckenham Village Shop, visit www.feckenhamshop.co.uk/be-a-volunteer
If you are interested in other volunteering opportunities in your community, visit the website www.do-it.org.uk for local opportunities or contact the Worcester Volunteer Centre on 01905 24741.