Woman turns her own garden into £10,000 community hub

Jennifer Shah

Jennifer Shah, who is inviting villagers from Ingoldisthorpe to enjoy mince pies and mulled wine in her garden, which she is opening up as a community space - Credit: Chris Bishop

With a population of 850, but no pub, shop or post office, Ingoldisthorpe is a village crying out for a place for the community to get together and socialise.

Now, parish clerk Jennifer Shah has stepped in to provide just such a venue... her own garden.

Mrs Shah is turning the area over into a community hub, and has been recently awarded £10,000 in funding from King's Lynn Borough Council to help with the project.

The money comes from the community infrastructure levy, to which developers contribute to provide facilities.

Jennifer Shah

Jennifer Shah with the dome she has installed in her garden at the Old Post Office at Ingoldisthorpe - Credit: Chris Bishop

Mrs Shah, who lives opposite the village sign, said: "I wanted to ensure a community space is available to villagers over the winter months as this is when I think people can feel more isolated, especially with the ongoing pandemic."

Jennifer Shah

Jennifer Shah in the garden she is opening up as a community space for the villagers of Ingoldisthorpe - Credit: Chris Bishop

"The idea is monthly events for the local, really local people. It might just be coffee mornings, maybe we could have a mother and toddler group, maybe a supper club.

"I wanted to do something that was non-religious, just come and relax. With the pandemic, also with this new Omicron, we don't know, we just thought this would work."

Jennifer Shah

The garden room which Ash and Jennifer Shah have installed at their home in Ingoldisthorpe - Credit: Chris Bishop

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Mrs Shah, 40, a personal trainer, and her husband Ash have installed a geodesic dome behind their home, which stands on the corner of Lynn Road and The Drift.

They have also installed a garden room at the three-bed property which they have lived in for seven years.

Jennifer Shah

Jennifer Shah in the garden room at her home in Ingoldisthorpe, which is part of the village's new community hub - Credit: Chris Bishop

Part of the house contained the village post office until it closed around 25 years ago. A post office then opened in another property on Lynn Road, which has also now closed.

Mrs Shah is hosting her first event, a mince pie and mulled wine evening between 3pm and 7pm on Sunday, December 5.

Jenifer Shah

Villagers from Ingoldisthorpe are being invited to a mince pie and mulled wine evening at the Old Post Office on Sunday - Credit: Chris Bishop

She said: "The WI are making some mince pies, I've got a villager playing carols on an electric piano that another villager has donated for the day and and yet another person from the village, who has just set-up a new mobile coffee business will be serving hot chocolates and coffee from the lay-by outside the front of my house."

Mrs Shah said she hopes people attending will have some suggestions for other uses for the garden.

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