What happens when the only shop in a small village closes down? The community rally round and start up their own community-run shop. Well, that is the case with the village of Cilcain in North East Wales.
Residents of Cilcain had no time to mourn the commercially-run village shop closed earlier this year. Instead a group of resourceful locals got together and created a steering group, proposing the opening of a new Community Shop run by volunteers.
After obtaining approval from the Village Hall Committee and the Community Council and securing funding from a Sustainable Development Fund grant and donations, work on the community-run shop began.
Over 200 locals viewed the different options proposed, cast their vote and volunteered to assist, and much of the physical work needed to set up the shop was carried out by village residents.
Many of the shop’s fittings and furnishings, including the counter, the café store cupboard, bench seating and cushions, were made from refurbished and donated second-hand items. The shop shelving was manufactured from recycled pallets by local artisan Dan Pickles and a distinctive shop logo was created by local artist, Wendi Williams-Shiel.
By June this year, the Cilcain Community Shop was ready to open its doors for business. The range of products sold at this local store “grows by the day”. The Flintshire-based village shop currently stocks newspapers, locally sourced ice cream, dairy and meat products from local suppliers, general groceries, household items and Thai ready-to-eat meals made locally.
Cilcain Community Shop is also home to a cafe as well as a Post Office service two days a week. A lifeline for elderly and isolated residents was restored and a triumph of local, individual and sustainable over global and generic was heralded.
The store, which is run by a team of volunteers and some paid staff, operates full opening hours from Wednesday to Sunday, and half-days on Monday and Tuesday
In an interview with the Plunkett Foundation, Simon, Society Treasurer at Cilcain Community Shop, said: “We are located within the Cilcain Village Hall, which has helped the community come together after the shock of the old shop closing down, and also helps maintain the viability of the village hall as a hub for community life. If we continue trading at the current rate we should be turning-over around £100,000 in our first year.”
Image Source: Cilcain Community Shop Facebook Page
Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief @rosamedea