Eardisland villagers set up shop

PUBLISHED: 16:31 17 June 2010 | UPDATED: 17:21 20 February 2013

Happy to assist. Community Shop Association, members, from left: Ruth Brinton-Bivand, Joyce Sheffield, Albert Sheffield, Shelley Connop and Margaret Milchard

Happy to assist. Community Shop Association, members, from left: Ruth Brinton-Bivand, Joyce Sheffield, Albert Sheffield, Shelley Connop and Margaret Milchard

Eardisland has its own grocery once again. It's only small, but it's a big asset to the village

The shop in a dovecote

Eardisland has its own grocery once again. Its only small, but its a big asset to the village

Eardisland is one of Herefordshires prettiest villages on the Black and White Village Trail with 20,000 visitors a year. The landmark building is the historic 17th century dovecote, nestling beside the River Arrow and, until recently, used solely as a Visitor Centre housing historical items from the village.

Now a community shop packed with local produce has opened on the ground floor, providing villagers and day-trippers with a grocery store for the first time in 10 years.

The shop is staffed and run by volunteers following the formation of the Eardisland Community Shop Association, the election of a management team and 18 months of planning. After researching other community shops, sending a questionnaire to every household in the parish and obtaining planning permission, members of the association raised more than 5,000 by buying shares, making donations and loans and securing further grant and loan funding.

Local tradespeople were taken on to carry out the conversion of part of the ground floor of the dovecote and the shop was opened at the end of March.

At the start of May the committee invited Paul Jones, the village postman for 17 years, to conduct the tape cutting ceremony and declare the shop officially open. Members say Paul embodies all the characteristics and qualities that the shop wishes to emulate: reliability, availability, great service and customer focus.

Association Chairman Albert Sheffield said the shop was already stocking more than 30 local products including bread, cakes, preserves, chutneys, drinks, crisps, ice-cream, vegetables and meats.

The shop has brought all elements of the community together. We have a queue of volunteers staffing the shop and we are encouraging people to drop in to pass the time of day. They dont have to buy, just come in to say hello.

The 15 square metre space has been likened to a Tardis: Ten years ago the Dovecote was derelict, then with EU money it was renovated. People cant believe the transformation, said Mr Sheffield.

Surplus funds generated from the shop will be put back into the community to support other projects.

The shop received financial support from the Big Lottery Fund, Community First, Co-op and Community Finance, Eardisland Parish Council, Herefordshire Council and the Plunkett Foundation.

Eardisland Community Shop is open daily from 8am to 5pm Monday to Saturday and on Sunday from 10am to 2pm (with extended Sunday afternoon opening until 5pm during the summer).


A selection of the producers whose goods are on sale in Eardisland Community Shop

Alex Gooch Organic Bread , Hay-on-Wye
Country Flavours, Preston-on-Wye
Scrummy Bites, Kingsland
Castle Farm Pork, Madley
Pams Preserves, Shobdon
Jaynes Jars, Shobdon
Sallys Pantry, Kington
Marston Meats, Pembridge
Radnor Hills drinks, Knighton, Powys

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