New Hawkchurch Community Shop is officially opened

PUBLISHED: 13:59 15 January 2020

Hawkchurch volunteer Pru Hurt outside the new timber-built community shop. Picture: Chris Carson

Hawkchurch volunteer Pru Hurt outside the new timber-built community shop. Picture: Chris Carson

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Hawkchurch’s new purpose-built community shop was officially opened at the weekend.

Guests celebrate the official opening of the new shop. Picture Lin HorrocksGuests celebrate the official opening of the new shop. Picture Lin Horrocks

The ceremony was performed by local couple Derek and Sue Cowling who generously provided the land at Norton's Yard on which the timber store has been built.

The village's first community shop opened in the summer of 2014 in a second-hand portable cabin, but it quickly became apparent bigger premises were needed.

In 2019 the team which runs it was granted £60,000 from the National Lottery's Power to Change Community Business Fund, which enabled it to move a few feet to its new purpose-built premises in late November.

Sue and Derek Cowling cutting the ribbon at the new shop. Picture: Jess EvansSue and Derek Cowling cutting the ribbon at the new shop. Picture: Jess Evans

Other grants from Hawkchurch Parish Council, East Devon District Council and Devon County Council helped to purchase and install solar panels.

The total cost of the scheme was around £78,000 - with the rest of the cash being raised from the sale of community shares and shop profits.

Shop committee secretary Mollie Hemens said: "From 2014 Hawkchurch Community Shop was up and running and serving Hawkchurch and its visitors so successfully that after the first couple of years it became obvious that we were outgrowing our trusty portable cabin. We needed a new home. The committee embarked upon putting a plan together that had a very long action plan list with all the thrills and ups and downs of a rollercoaster ride.

People queuing to see the new shop. Picture Mollie HemensPeople queuing to see the new shop. Picture Mollie Hemens

"More funding was needed, more shares were sold. The business plan had a major overhaul.

"Mr and Mrs Cowling allowed us to stay on the same site in the centre of the village, a new lease was signed and planning application obtained to replace the existing portable cabin with a purpose built timber cabin.

"The shop can now expand and provide a much needed service in a rural area that enables the community and its visitors to shop local, with the added bonus of reducing the carbon footprint. Hawkchurch Community Shop is in a sustainable position long into the future."

The shop is entirely managed and run by volunteers.

Shop assistant Pru Hurt said it was a pleasure to work in the new shop which was 'comfortable and spacious and carried a large range of products.

For more information call 01297 678 999 or e mail hawkchurchshop@gmail.com

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