Villagers celebrate new shop

A WORCESTERSHIRE village will celebrate the official opening of its new community shop later this month.

Villagers in Alfrick banded together to launch the community shop following the closure of Alfrick Stores and Post Office in July 2011.

They raised £19,000 by selling shares in the venture which, coupled with grants from Big Lottery, Awards for All and Plunkett Foundation, allowed them to create their own store in a portable building at the village hall.

The shop, which is staffed by 60 volunteers, opened for business on June 22 and has been doing well ever since.

West Worcestershire MP Harriett Baldwin has been invited to conduct the shop’s official opening, at noon on Saturday, September 29.

Everyone in the village has been invited to attend and enjoy a pig roast, the release of doves and live music from jazz trio The Severn Valley Hot Three. Mrs Baldwin has been a big supporter of the initiative, even raising the villagers’ efforts in Commons and securing the congratulations of Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills Norman Lamb.

She said: “I congratulate all the volunteers who have worked so hard and will work so hard to make this shop a success.”

Mrs Baldwin is also helping with efforts to return post office services to the village.

Representatives from the Post Office have visited the shop to discuss how villagers could operate their own service, but a stumbling block is the need for all 60 volunteers to go through the expensive and time-consuming process of gaining Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) clearance.

Mrs Baldwin has also raised this matter in Commons, with Mr Lamb telling her: “I tend to agree that asking every volunteer in the village to undergo a CRB check seems over the top.”

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