Community pop-up shop set up during lockdown 'here to stay' after proving a success

A community pop-up shop which was set up during lockdown to offer locals a ‘safe place’ to shop is here to stay, organisers have announced.

The Blymhill Village Pop Up Community Shop inside the Blymhill & Weston Under Lizard Village Hall was set up during lockdown to offer people a place where they could get their essentials without needing to travel to bigger supermarkets.

It’s been so successful that organisers have decided to keep it open despite lockdown restrictions easing.

David Maddocks, chairman of the Blymhill and Weston Under Lizard Parish Council, said: “The idea of a local shop within the parish was first discussed three years ago at parish council level and has been in discussions since.

“When the first lockdown was introduced and our village hall was left empty, it was suggested we set up a pop-up shop there to trial it.

“The idea being that it would not only help local people who didn’t feel comfortable travelling into town but that would also support local producers and suppliers who were struggling for business during the pandemic."

Mr Maddocks added that it would also be a great way to monitor whether there was enough demand for a village shop.

“We were absolutely delighted with the response,” he added.

“The feedback has been fantastic. So much so that we’ve decided even with restrictions easing that it needs to stay open.”

The community shop sells fresh fruit and vegetables, locally-made bread as well as specialist sausage rolls, and most of the products are made within the parish.

“The difference with this shop is that everything is sourced locally so it really offers something different from what you find in the supermarket,” he added.

“Our freshly made bread is from Bread2Bake in Ludlow, our eggs are from Rookery Farm in Wheaton Aston, our cheese is from Moydens in Market Drayton, our meat is from Mathews Butchers in Newport and Red Lion Farm supplies all of our ice cream.

“It’s great to know that when customers shop with us, they’re putting their money back into the community.”

The committee is also considering setting up a small meeting area to go alongside the shop.

“Now that we know the shop is here to stay, we can start thinking about what’s next,” Mr Maddocks said.

“We’ve had requests for a small meeting area where customers can enjoy one of the delicious cupcakes supplied by Codsall-based Cakes Over Heer alongside a cup of tea or coffee.”

Mr Maddocks added he had to pay tribute to the ‘wonderful volunteers’.

“There were lots of people involved behind-the-scenes who made this happen; the village hall committee, and particularly Bridget Theaker, were instrumental in driving this venture right from the very start; the parish council who supplied the initial costs to get the shop set up; and of course the wonderful volunteers, without them, it wouldn’t be possible to run the shop – they’re excellent.

“Some of these volunteers are new to this parish within the last 12 months and are keen to get to know residents.

"Their participation as volunteers has been a wonderful opportunity for them to integrate.

“The enthusiasm and commitment to the whole project has been incredible - the community spirit has gone far beyond our expectations.”

Alexander Newport, managing director of Bradford Estates, said: "We can't believe it's been more than 12 months since we went into our first national lockdown.

“It’s great to see Blymhill and Weston Under Lizard Parish Council support the local community in this way and we’re delighted to hear the community shop is here to stay.

"There is hopefully light at the end of the tunnel now for all of us as restrictions start to ease and life begins to get back to normal but it’s wonderful that initiatives like this which have been a real lifeline for some during the pandemic can continue to make a difference to the local community.”

The Blymhill Village Pop Up Community Shop is open Tuesday to Saturday from 10am to 1pm and Wednesday to Friday from 5.30pm to 7pm.

To find out more visit facebook.com/BlymhillCommunityShop.

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