Makeover for East Meon Stores
Tuesday, 26 June 2012
A village shop in East Meon will be transformed thanks to a £13,682.70 grant from a Hampshire County Council initiative to give essential rural facilities a new lease of life.
The shop owner applied for funding to add new product lines, improve the window signage, install a kitchen area for preparing fresh sandwiches, pastries and cakes, and introduce a café section to attract more customers. The grant is the 27th in the Village Community Grants scheme, which has been running since 2008 and has seen village shops across the county transformed and revitalised.
Councillor Ray Ellis, Executive Member for Economic Development and Rural Affairs said: "The aim of the Village Community Grants scheme is to revitalise village shops and make them more sustainable and viable in the long term. Village shops are crucial to the communities they serve and are often the hub of village life alongside the pub and church.
"East Meon has many young families and elderly people, who depend on having a well stocked and welcoming shop on their doorstep. The village is also in the South Downs National Park which attracts many visitors from outside the area. The shop is on the main village street in the heart of the community, so these changes will help boost trade and increase footfall. Keeping village shops vibrant and thriving is a high priority when many other rural facilities are being lost."
The Village Community Grants scheme offers funding of up to £20,000 to help increase the use of village shops or to create new community-led village stores, particularly in communities which are losing their post offices. The scheme is targeted primarily at villages with fewer than 5,000 residents and has been very successful, with the £350,000 given so far in grants being matched by over twice as much from private sources.