Appeal for volunteers to help village shop during coronavirus lockdown

Caroline Chennells and John Mathews standing beside Brent Knoll Village Shop.

Caroline Chennells and John Mathews standing beside Brent Knoll Village Shop. - Credit: Brent Knoll Village Shop

A concerned community has opted to take over its village shop to save it from permanent closure, while wanting to help people in self-isolation during the coronavirus pandemic.

Brent Knoll village shop closed on March 1.

Brent Knoll village shop closed on March 1. - Credit: Google Street View

Villagers surveyed were united in agreement to create a community store to replace Brent Knoll Village Shop and Post Office, which shut in March.

Community store project lead David Sturgess said it is an ‘amazing response’ to the consultation posted online and around the village in February, and he says the group is ‘eager to respond to the coronavirus crisis’.

The group is appealing to more than 40 people who put themselves forward to volunteer at the community store to support the parish council’s scheme, to provide help for people in self-isolation during coronavirus lockdown in Brent Knoll.

David said: “Unfortunately, this venture coincides with the Covid-19 pandemic, so we are unable to hold the public meeting that we had planned as the next step.

“Right now, it is important we report the results of this public consultation process. Those results tell us that there is ample scope to talk to the Plunkett Foundation about creating a community store in Brent Knoll.”

The Plunkett Foundation is a national charity which has helped more than 300 villages to convert closed shops into successful community stores in the UK.

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Out of 150 people questioned, 42 people agreed to volunteer to work at the community shop, while 93 villagers also confirmed they could invest up to £100 to be a shareholder at the store.

Twenty-six people also declared their willingness to join the project’s steering group, while 12 villagers offered their professional skills to support the concept.

David continued: “While we progress the results of our survey with the Plunkett Foundation, we’re trying to work with our parish council to ask those 42 people who put themselves forward as volunteers to support the council’s scheme to provide help for people affected by coronavirus lockdown rules in our village.

“By providing volunteer support for people who have needs in this village, we can provide a bridge between the loss of our village shop and the creation of a community shop.”

To volunteer, email