VOLUNTEERS at a village shop which faced closure five years ago have taken part in a community scheme to support a group which helped secure its future.
Thorncombe Village Shop and Post Office volunteers got together to help the parish council buy the shop so it could remain open and now they have been taking part in a two-week initiative called Community Shops Fortnight, The Plunkett Foundation, which supported the village shop in its quest to stay open five years ago, organises the scheme.
The Plunkett Foundation supports the development of community- owned village shops across the country.
Community Shops Fortnight aims to celebrate the achievement of running a community-owned shop and help raise its profile by rolling out posters, bunting, guide books for customers and stickers at shops to attract customers in.
Alongside the celebrations, volunteers continued their work organising monthly newsletters, late-night opening on Thursday, keeping their website up to date and encouraging shoppers through social media.
Phil Gordon, one of the volunteers, said: “We are still evolving, still learning and constantly trying to think of new things we can offer our community and visitors.
“It all helps keep the ‘buzz’ going in the shop and helps us adjust the shop’s stock to keep as many people happy as possible. I really enjoy my volunteering and have met some really interesting people from all over the world who have visited Thorncombe.”
Another regular volunteer, Pam Willis, said: “We’re very lucky to have such a lovely shop with great local produce.
“The best things about working here are meeting people and working as a team. The shop brings people together”.
The shop has gone from strength to strength and is now staffed by two paid employees backed by a huge team of volunteers who work in the shop and others working behind the scenes to organise regular events at the shop, monthly newsletters, encourage shoppers through social networks and keep the website updated.
David Stead, the youngest volunteer at the Thorncombe Shop, said: “Volunteering at the shop means getting to know different people and knowing I’m helping the community.”