Residents in Church Fenton will soon be able to do more than wake up and smell the coffee – they will be able to wander down to the community shop and drink it, served by volunteers trained as baristas!
It was seen as a great loss when the village shop closed after the owners retired, but it has been reopened thanks to a large number of volunteers and donations from residents and local businesses.
The volunteers are keen to expand the offering from the community shop and this is where the coffee comes in. Thanks to £1,770 from local County Councillor Andrew Lee’s Locality Budget, the community shop has bought a coffee machine with a view to training volunteers as baristas and establishing a café and takeaway business. Locality budgets allow the 72 county councillors to respond to local needs and requests by recommending funding of up to £5,000 to support projects or activities that benefit the communities they represent.
Jo Mason, of the Community Shop, said: “The shop has been an amazing success so far and already means a lot to so many people. For example, an elderly resident, who pops in several times a day in his mobility scooter, had been watching me trying to clean the floor with a broom and a dust pan. He popped back ten minutes later and gave me an envelope with £100 to buy a vacuum cleaner! He said it was a thank you for us being here and how much he appreciated being able to drop in for his groceries and a chat.
“We are keen to expand the offer at the shop to include a community café. We feel that the shop can become even more of a community hub. The shop is open 12 hours a day so there will always be somewhere for a chat, a cuppa and a friendly face.’’
Cllr Lee said: “The Church Fenton Community Shop is off to a great start and the village is hoping that it will have a long-term future.
“They have bold plans for the future. They feel the shop can become even more of a community hub, a meeting place where not only the convenience of a community shop can be accessed but also the issues of loneliness and isolation common to rural communities can be addressed. The coffee machine can hopefully become the mainstay of the café business at the next stage of the venture.’’