Community Shops Buck The Economic Trends
A report by the Plunkett Foundation has found recent growth in community shops. They are increasing in numbers and popularity. Recent figures suggest that they are bucking the economic trend and becoming more popular. This may, in part, be due to high oil costs have that encouraged local people to support their local shops.
Many community stores are being created through local groups fund-raising to raise the capital to set up the shops. They tend to source products from local suppliers. The Plunkett Foundation estimate that there are now 267 community owned shops trading in England, Scotland and Wales. The concept also extends to co-operative pubs too. The foundation also tries to make local food networks in order to improve resilience locally. Full details about the Foundation are given on their website: The Plunkett Foundation.
Often community shops are opening in rural areas where traditional shops, pubs and post offices have closed. This movement is similar to the Transition Movement where local people are organising their selves to take control of issues affecting them. The issues in rural areas are typically one of decline and closure, especially in remote areas. This initiative creates a more localised network for development and, importantly, one that is not controlled from outside the region or perhaps country.
Of the five community pubs there is one urban example in Salford, The Star Inn, which is run by mainly volunteers but has now employed the first member of staff. It has a micro-brewery that produces local beers and ales..
One shining example of the village shop is Lodsworth Larder, a local store in the village of Lodsworth near Petworth, Sussex. It has been awarded the best corner shop in the UK 2012 by the Daily Telegraph newspaper. The shop is also sustainable on a number of levels. Firstly it is built from locally sourced sustainable timber. Secondly it encourages people to shop locally to reduce their car miles. Thirdly it encompasses a number of eco-friendly features such as photo-voltaic panels, a heat recovery system and a water usage saving device. More information can be found on their web site: Lodsworth Larder.