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Community shop continues to thrive as volunteers bid to buy the building

PUBLISHED: 06:30 30 December 2016

Thurlton Community Shop manager Tracy Smith. PHOTO: Nick Butcher

Thurlton Community Shop manager Tracy Smith. PHOTO: Nick Butcher

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Volunteers from a community shop that started life on a shoestring are taking steps to buy the building.

Thurlton Community Shop continues to be a success.
 
PHOTO: Nick Butcher Thurlton Community Shop continues to be a success. PHOTO: Nick Butcher

Thurlton Community Shop opened in May this year after a dedicated group vowed to run a facility in the village after the closure of the only shop earlier in January.

They formed a limited company and appealed for shareholders to invest to help financially support the project.

Now with shareholders on board, a thriving shop and post office, the team are looking forward to developing the store further.

Tracy Smith, manager of the shop said: “Kate Cox and Heather Longman were two of the ladies who set it up and I came in when they were just getting it started to volunteer. They wanted somebody to oversee things and for people to direct questions to and that’s how I became manager.

Thurlton Community Shop volunteers with manager Tracy Smith inside the store. 
PHOTO: Nick Butcher Thurlton Community Shop volunteers with manager Tracy Smith inside the store. PHOTO: Nick Butcher

“We sell groceries and basic day to day goods, papers, that sort of thing and we have an outreach post office here on a Tuesday and a Thursday. In the summer we took the shelving back and doubled the size of the floor space in the shop.

“We sell eggs and vegetables from Clinks Care Farm (Toft Monks), beer from The People’s Brewery (Thorpe-next-Haddiscoe) and items such as jewellery and ceramics from local people.

“We also have tables and chairs and a coffee machine, a library area with second-hand books and we are expanding into the community all the time. It’s turned into a hub where people can come, not just to buy things, but to sit and have a chat.”

The shop has become a community interest company, which means the not for profit organisation ploughs profits back into worthy causes in the village. Shareholders don’t receive any returns for their money but are invited to be part of the annual general meeting to have a say in how the shop is run.

Some of the produce on sale at Thurlton Community Shop.

PHOTO: Nick Butcher Some of the produce on sale at Thurlton Community Shop. PHOTO: Nick Butcher

Mrs Smith said they were in negotiations to buy the shop and if that was completed they hoped to apply for planning permission to change the set up and install a proper cafe and a meeting room.

“We are very pleased with how it has been going and its become a real service to the local community,” she said.

■ To find out more about becoming a shareholder, making a donation or volunteering, call the shop on 01508 548551. For opening times, visit www.thurltoncommunityshop.co.uk

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