200 attend community shop opening

A purpose built community shop opened in Milland, West Sussex in December after receiving a loan from Co-operative & Community Finance to assist with building works.

The Milland Community Shop was opened following a survey in June 2010 which showed that about half of the 1000 local residents would use a community shop two or three times a week.

200 people, and a famous face in the form of Downton Abbey actor Hugh Bonneville, attended the opening on Saturday 3 December. The shop is now open seven days a week

The shop is run by an experienced managerial team, with one paid member of staff on duty at all times and volunteers to cover all other roles within the store.

One of the aims of the shop is to encourage volunteering and to deliver a range of supportive services into the community. They hope to enable young people to develop skills and gain experience vital to obtaining a first job

With the assistance of The Plunkett Foundation the shop has installed a state of the art till system which boats user friendly controls, so that volunteers can pick up and use the equipment with minimal training.

The building which was designer by a local designer, was purpose built to the needs of the villagers, and is eco-friendly in construction.

Philip Watts, Secretary of the Milland Community Shop, said: “We have received a very warm welcome from villagers since we opened. Many people say that the shop completes the village hub. We have also had a great deal of interests from tourists, ramblers and cyclists who are visiting the National Park in which we are located.”

The shop provides a range of amenities including groceries, freshly baked bread, and a modern café specialising in fresh Italian coffee. A limited postal service is also being explored in the coming months, and events such as book signings have been organised.

Mr Watts, said: “The shop has already been a success. We have a good trade in selling produce sourced from the local area, and the café is doing particularly well.”