Recipients of a Village Community Shop Grant
Pilley Post Office and Stores was severely run down and set to move to community ownership to save it from closure at the end of 2007. Pilley Community Shop Association applied for funding under the Village Community Grant Scheme and was the first in Hampshire to be awarded a grant. It was granted £3,000 for a new Post Office counter, made to the specification of the PO.
Minstead Village Shop received a grant of £8,462. The owners matched it with 30% of their own funds. The money has been used to enhance the shop with a coffee machine, new chiller, freezer, ice cream freezer, deli counter and striped blue and white awning to protect the fresh produce displayed outside.
The community, which comprises two hamlets, Headley and Ashford Hill, rallied round to save Headley Village Shop and Post Office from closure upon the retirement of the shop manger/Postmaster in June 2008 and turn it into a Community Shop. Headley with Ashford Hill Community Shop Association applied to the Village Community Grant Scheme for £15,000, with the backing of a supportive community. The shop/PO now has a full-time manager, Sue Gillingham.
Passfield Stores lost its Post Office with the round of closures in February 2008. The owners, John and Susan Wood, applied to Hampshire County Council and East Hampshire District Council for funding towards a complete store refurbishment, the costs of fittings and to add to the range of produce stocked, plus an extension of their delivery services.
West Meon Community Shop has become a thriving community facility despite its Post Office being reduced to an 8 hours a week Outreach service in April 2008. The evolution into this successful shop took place following a bid to develop the facility in 2008 by renovating an unconverted store at the rear of the premises to provide an internet café, drop in meeting point and Tourist Information Source.
Woodgreen has always had a shop and Post Office, in a variety of locations over the years, with the current small one in the heart of the village since 1910. The shop’s lease runs out in December 2011 and it will not be renewed.
The Association has investigated the opportunity to build a new shop nearby, on Parish Council land just beyond to the Village Hall, adjacent to Hall House flats. This will be leased from the Parish Council. The Association estimates the total cost for the new build and fitting out is approximately £300,000. It applied to the Village Community Grant Scheme for £20,000.
Sarah Thick is joint owner of Sherfield English Post Office & Stores, with her husband, Rod. She took over the shop eight years ago and it is now part of her family home. Already a successful business, work began upgrading the premises in summer 2008 funded privately and this is nearing completion. Sherfield English Post Office & Stores was granted £9,898 for a photocopier, coffee machine, hot pie machine, a new New Forest Ice Cream cabinet, and a replacement for an ancient chiller cabinet.
Michelle and Noel Reidy’s business represents a lifestyle change. They bought the property in 2005, moving to live above the premises in 2007.
Grayshott Village Post Office received a grant of £13,054 for construction of an Internet room and equipment, which comprises four PCs, printers and a laptop (wi-fi throughout premises).
The Clatfords comprise Goodworth Clatford and Upper Clatford, both served by Clatfords Village Shop and Post Office, in the heart of the community. Clatfords Village Community Shop Association applied to the Village Community Grant Scheme for £9,335, with the backing of a supportive community. The community was surveyed and requested more fresh food; this necessitated greater storage space and new chiller equipment/freezer.
South Warnborough Village Store was awarded a grant of £17,730 under the Village Community Grant Scheme and this has funded a van to deliver essential supplies to people in isolated rural areas.
The specially equipped van will provide anything from hot fish and chips for disabled residents, to daily provisions for those living in outlying areas. The van will also provide a lunchtime sandwich and pie service to nearby business parks.
East Hampshire District Council owns Froxfield Village Stores, which lost its Post Office in the recent round of closures. In 2008, Howard Bevis took over and applied for £12,734 of funding from the Village Community Grant Scheme to upgrade the shop, increase floor space and introduce new services. It offers Outreach PO services.
Sparsholt’s Village Shop and Post Office was bought by the community as Sparsholt Village Shop Association Ltd, in January 2009 with a £20,000 grant from HCC Village Community Grant Scheme and local contributions. This followed the retirement of the two former owners, after no one had come forward to buy the business. With strong commitment from the village, it is now thriving.
Colin and Bridget Samuels took over East Tisted Village Stores in 2006 and have a 12-year lease remaining on the property. Having sought retail advice, the couple identified multiple revenue channels which were having a positive effect on turnover, but the shop was shabby and in dire need of a refit.
The Samuels submitted an application for £20,000 to the Village Community Grant Scheme for the improvement and upgrade of the shop facilities
Chilbolton Post Office and Stores is owned by David Johnston and Joanne Buist. It benefits from both extensive local support and passing commuter trade, but was in need of upgrading. David and Jo applied for £11,657 from the Village Community Grant Scheme to replace the former ‘fortress’ style PO with a combi-counter, put in new flooring and provide a new retail counter, all designed to improve access for people with impaired mobility.
St Mary Bourne
St Mary Bourne Village Shop is a Community Shop run by a Village Shop Association, which applied to the Village Community Grant Scheme for £30,000 towards refurbishments in 2008. New refrigeration was installed, new lighting added and new flooring laid, with the electrical supply improved, and a take away coffee machine added. An outside display area for produce has been put in place, plus a bunker for charcoal and wood fuels.
Abbotts Ann Village Shop in Test Valley was given a new lease of life thanks to a grant of £7,800 funded by the Village Community Grant Scheme. The grant contributed towards the purchase of a new chiller/freezer, enabling the store to increase the local produce on offer to customers and introduce a range of frozen ready meals.
Martin applied to the Village Community Grant Scheme for £10,223 to locate a small shop selling groceries and local produce in a separate room within the existing village hall. The need was identified in the Parish Plan, but it was also seen as an initiative which would provide an opportunity for the social interaction which is vital for a thriving village community.
The Kingsley Centre village shop has had a refit in association with The Southern Co-Operative and thanks to a grant of £20,000. The aim of the refurbishment is to encourage more local people to use the facility by offering a wider range of produce, which includes daily fresh baked bread and pastries, fresh, local and Fairtrade produce and a small selection of wines. The cafe area has been maintained and an upgraded coffee machine will soon be installed. The signage outside the shop has also been greatly improved.
Having taken Eversley’s Centre Stores, which is the village shop and Post Office, in 2010, new leaseholder John Hartle applied to the Village Community Grant Scheme for £20,000 to completely refurbish the existing premises. Viewing the shop as a valued community resource, Eversley Parish Council supported the application.
What was a tired shop and PO was utterly transformed from a gutted shell – it has new flooring, lighting, racking and shelving, chillers and a much improved use of space.
The Village Store Management Committee applied for £16,000 of funding from the Village Community Grants scheme.
The Store's full time Post Office is to be replaced by an outreach service and part of the funding will be used to re-arrange the shop, reducing the amount of post office space to supply additional fresh produce and to offer more seasonal promotions.
The Village Shop Association applied for £19,000 of funding from the Village Community Grants scheme. The grant will be used to cover the costs of replacing the Post Office Counter Services with Post Office Local, to refit the store and to enable new products and services to be provided.
The Post Office was relocated within the Barton Stacey store last year to make it more accessible, and at the same time work was carried out to replace worn out flooring and install additional shelving. The owners will use the £10,000 Village Community Grant to develop their business further, by purchasing a wine and beer cooler; an ice cream freezer which is more customer friendly; a slush vending machine for younger customers; a new hot food to go unit; a soup kettle and a new large energy saving food to go chiller. They are also commissioning a local person to set up and run a dedicated website.
The Selborne Post Office and Stores is soon to be transformed thanks to a grant of £20,000 from a Hampshire County Council run initiative to make improvements to the shop that would help increase footfall and its long term viability.
The grant will be used to refurbish the shop, increase the range of products - including offering more local produce, and improving access for less able customers. The owners will also be installing a hot drinks machine and a sandwich counter selling freshly made sandwiches after a survey highlighted this as something villagers would like and was a need not currently being met locally.