Local life - Gawsworth Community Shop
PUBLISHED: 00:00 25 January 2018 | UPDATED: 17:50 25 January 2018
Putting the spotlight on retailers whose business is an important part of community life.
When the local village shop in Gawsworth was threatened with closure in 2009, the community sprang into action. Having seen three others close their doors, residents were determined they would not lose the final one. Residents joined together to create the Gawsworth Community Shop Limited.
‘It was always the Post Office element of the shop that had kept it viable,’ said Ray Shaw, chairman. ‘Unfortunately they had to pull out. It wasn’t long before the shop was making a loss and creating debt.That was when the community rallied around. Within four months more than £100,000 had been raised. Work was done on the building and the shop reopened in March 2011.
‘It was a real credit to how determined local residents were to keeping their village shop,’ said Ray. ‘To raise that amount of money was incredible. We’re also particularly pleased that we managed to keep the shop open while the work was being done. We had a shipping container on the land at the front of the shop. I think it was probably the smallest shop in the country but we knew if we closed we would lose custom. The first day the shop opened after the work we took £700. Everyone couldn’t wait to take a look.’
Today, around 50 people help run the shop including 30 volunteers who cover the shifts to keep it open. They range from teenagers gaining work experience to the retired. The shop sells all the basics from milk and bread to newspapers and magazines. It also operates as a ticket agent for local events and a delivery service for the housebound. At Christmas they deliver turkeys from nearby farms.
Gawsworth Community Shop Limited could be about to go full circle as Ray is currently in talks with the Post Office to reinstate the service.
‘The shop is a real lynchpin of the village,’ said Ray. ‘And to be able to get the Post Office back in the shop would be wonderful. It’s the thing that is at the top of people’s lists in local surveys. I’m hopeful it will happen.’