Collyweston Community Shop opened its doors for the first time on 1 July 2010 in what many villagers still remember as the picturesque old butcher’s shop.
Run on a not-for-profit basis, we serve residents of Collyweston, Duddington, Tixover and Fineshade and also welcome the many occasional visitors who pop in for anything from a pint of milk to local delicacies.
But we are much more than a place to pick up provisions. With the disappearance of the village butcher and baker, the loss of public transport links and the closure of Collyweston school and Post Office, we faced the same problem as so many sister villages – residents were forced to travel miles for their everyday needs and were left with nowhere to catch up for a daily chat, nowhere to share news, basically no everyday meeting place. We like to think the Shop has helped save the heart of our beautiful village.
The work of a team of committed villagers made this possible. By securing start-up funding from The Rural Development Programme for England, The Plunkett Foundation and Northamptonshire Community Foundation Northamptonshire ACRE and Co-operative and Community Finance, fundraising locally, finding premises, and recruiting and training volunteers, they worked tirelessly to turn a vision into reality.
Over the past five years we’ve managed to go from strength to strength. In 2013 we recruited our wonderful part-time manager, Rachel. Our range of goods and services continues to grow and we’re proud to support many local artisan producers. All these achievements are a tribute to the dedication of our volunteer staff and loyalty of our customers
In 2010 we won three Northamptonshire County Council ‘Improve Your Patch’ awards and in 2013 customer nominations helped us reach the Countryside Alliance Awards’ Midlands finals.
One of our nicest tributes comes from Laura Fanthorpe of Peterborough Environment City Trust who describes us as “a particular favourite of mine” and “a fantastic model of a not-for-profit organisation which reinvests any profits into other community activities.”
So far we have been able to fund a £490 memorial bench to replace a run-down seat near The Collyweston Slater pub, purchased and installed a defibrillator on the outside of the shop and have made donations to other good causes, such as St Andrew’s Church, our Village Playing Fields Association, Collyweston Village Hall, the local Historical and Preservation Society and the Collyweston Players.
But we are far from complacent. Like all village shops we face stiff competition from larger retailers, difficulty attracting enough volunteers as the pace of life gets ever busier, and the need to meet our customers’ changing requirements, whether for new ice-cream flavours, wi-fi access or more gluten-free products.
It is our pleasure and privilege to serve the residents of Collyweston and with their help and support we hope to continue doing so for many a long year.