Third Village Shop Conference a Success
Monday, 02 December 2013
The third Village Shop Conference was well attended by village shop owners, leaseholders, managers and volunteers in a rural setting near Basingstoke on the 14 November.
The Conference, held in Preston Candover Village Hall, was hosted by Hampshire County Council to provide support and advice for people who run village shops in Hampshire.
Councillor Andrew Gibson, Hampshire County Council's Assistant Member for Business and Rural Economy, welcomed the 24 delegates to the event. Cllr Gibson also presented a grant cheque to East Stratton Village Shop, opened in a disused garage at The Northbrook Arms, East Stratton.
The Keynote speaker was Ken Parsons from the Rural Shops Alliance, who gave suggestions for improving the viability of rural shops.
Other topics that were discussed were: Using the Internet and Social Media to Increase Market Reach; Reducing Energy Costs; the Post Office Modernisation Programme; Sourcing Local Food (Hampshire Fare) and Networking with Other Shops
Cllr Gibson said: "Village shops are often a lifeline for the vulnerable and can play an integral part in the vitality and vibrancy of a village community. We have been working with village shops in Hampshire to help increase footfall and ensure sustainability through the Hampshire Village Shops Grant scheme.
"The conference brought together people who are running village shops around the County, so they could share their experiences and ideas on how to improve the use of their stores."
The County Council's Village Shops Grant Scheme offers grants to help increase the use of village shops or to create new community-led village stores. A total of 30 grants have been awarded to villages in Hampshire since the scheme was launched in 2008.
The Hampshire Village Shops Grant Scheme is targeted primarily at villages with fewer than 5,000 residents which either have no shop or just one shop in their community. Applications are welcome from community associations, village shop associations, parish and district councils as well as formal voluntary associations. Private businesses are eligible to apply if they have the written support from their parish council.