Community shop sees further transformation
Thursday, 30 August 2012
The village shop in Headley with Ashford Hill will see a further stage of its transformation completed thanks to a £1,450 grant from a Hampshire County Council initiative aimed at giving essential rural facilities a new lease of life.
Community shop created
Following the retirement of the previous owner, the community came to the rescue of the shop and Post Office when it was threatened with closure, forming the Headley with Ashford Hill Community Shop Association. The Association applied for £15,000 funding from the Hampshire County Council / SEEDA Village Community Grant Scheme in 2008 to help them take over the shop and pay for the first year's running costs. Since then the community association has worked enthusiastically to turn the shop into a valuable community resource and meeting point, including moving it into a disused Baptist chapel and carrying out a refit . There is now more space and the previous main chapel area serves as a community room, and has recently provided display space for local artists.
Increased range of cold drinks
The latest grant of £1,450 will be used to purchase a drinks chiller to increase the range of cold drinks on offer, as well as upgrading the shop's website to inform customers when seasonal goods are available and create a forum for suggestions.
The grant is the 28th in the Village Community Grants scheme, which has been running since 2008 and has seen village shops across Hampshire 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. These shops are crucial to the communities they serve and often the hub of village life alongside the pub and church.
'Spread out community'
"Headley with Ashford Hill is a spread out community with around 1,200 residents. The nearest shops are over two miles away and the shop is a real boon for elderly and less mobile residents, and those without transport, who value it highly. The community association running the shop has not only saved this much need local facility, but has built it into a thriving and well stocked facility, which includes goods from Hampshire producers. As a result of support from Hampshire County Council, the shop is now able to offer a wide range of local products including cheeses, apple juices, smoked fish products, pies and quiches, chutneys and preserves. Keeping village shops at the heart of communities is a high priority when many other rural services are being lost."
Support from Hampshire County Council
Richard Bayley, Vice Chairman said
"The Association is very grateful for the continuing support of Hampshire County Council, other organisations and individuals whose generosity enables the development of the shop for the benefit of everyone in the local community. Without this support there would be no shop or post office in Headley and Ashford Hill."