May 10

Lord Julian Fellowes visits the shop

The following press release has been sent this morning (10th May) to BVM, Western Gazette, Valley News and Dorset Life.

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Lord Julian Fellowes visits Motcombe Community Shop, a Finalist in the Countryside Alliance Rural Oscars Awards

Motcombe Community Shop was delighted and proud to be one of 13 finalists in the Village Shop/Post Office category of this year’s Countryside Alliance Rural Oscars Awards.  Following the awards ceremony at the House of Lords the shop held a Celebration Party on Saturday 7th May at Motcombe Memorial Hall to toast the success of the shop.  Lord and Lady Fellowes, Dorset residents, lent their support by visiting the shop and officially opening the party.  They chatted to volunteers and customers on a warm Spring day and obviously enjoyed their visit to Motcombe.  Lord Fellowes expressed his surprise at how much the shop had to offer and was envious that Motcombe still boasted a village store. It was a wonderful occasion which was attended by over 180 people and several local suppliers.

Shop manager, Kay Francis said, “It was a fantastic achievement to be nominated for the Rural Oscars after only five and half years of trading and we have had so many lovely messages of support from our customers and suppliers.  We still think we are winners!”

Motcombe Community Shop and Post Office has been trading since July 2010. Bucking the trend of rural shop closures Motcombe Community Shop, in a village of about 600 households, achieved an amazing turnaround and its achievements as a community shop have been nationally recognized with a handful of awards and grants.

Motcombe has all the components of a great village – a school, a church, village shop and a pub.  The shop is the heartbeat of the village where people congregate, communicate and look out for one another’s welfare and has been enormously important in bringing the village together as a community.  It is not only a place to shop but is staffed by volunteers alongside a handful of part time paid staff.  It has become a special place to meet and forge new friendships on both sides of the shop counter.

The story started in January 2010 when the couple who owned the village shop decided to sell up but couldn’t find a buyer.  A group of villagers decided to try and set up the shop as a community venture.  Incredibly, just six months later the village bought the shop having raised £150,000 including a staggering £76,000 by selling £1.00 shares.  The shop also received numerous grants, notably from the Plunkett Foundation and Sowing Seeds.

So what does the shop sell?  Many locally sourced goods as well as all the basics that no one can do without.  It offers a coffee shop and outdoor seating area, freshly baked bread and croissants, a dry cleaning service and an arts and crafts showcase for local artists.  It sells tickets for local events such as the monthly Motcombe movieola, the village pantomime and quiz nights and there is a thriving book and DVD swap service.  It also offers a grocery delivery service to the retirement flats at Motcombe Grange.  The shop is open every day of the week and is only closed on Christmas Day.

A brilliant enterprise and one that needs to be celebrated.