Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Two AONB shops get worthy recognition

MARTIN Shop has been named Hampshire Village Shop of the Year. The store, near Fordingbridge, received the award at the Royal Marines Museum, Portsmouth at the Hampshire County Magazine Awards Initiative.

Three shops were shortlisted but Martin’s was chosen as the winner based on criteria that included providing the best possible personal service and caring for the village community via the village shop, as well as demonstrating a successful business model.

Jane Wingate-Saul from the shop was presented with the award by cllr Ray Ellis of Hampshire County Council.

Shop manager Janet Richards said: “We are really pleased to receive this award. It is great that the efforts of all the volunteers who run the shop have been recognised in this way.”

Martin Shop opened in September 2010 as a not-for-profit enterprise and is run entirely by volunteers. It is run in a part of the village hall in Martin that has been partitioned off to form a self-contained shop. It has quickly proved its worth in a village that had previously not had a shop at all since the last one closed in 1982.

The shop specialises in providing locally grown food. It sells vegetables and free range pork and eggs from Futurefarms, a community farm based nearby, and also sells produce from many other local suppliers, including beef, lamb, jams, honey, cakes, biscuits, apple juice and skincare products.

On Saturday mornings the shop opens alongside the Futurefarms market and coffee and home-made cakes are served in the village hall.

The shop was opened with the help of a grant from the county council’s Village Community Grant Scheme, which is aimed primarily at increasing the use of village shops and supporting the creation of new community-led village shops.

We at the AONB are particularly proud to hear this as Martin Shop is very well known to us.  It is also important to add that Ludwell Stores has also been voted the south west’s Village Shop/Post Office of the Year. For an AONB our shop keepers are doing very well this year.  It goes without saying that community shops in this area have been very well supported by our Sustainable Development Fund and are greatly endorsed by the team. Well done everyone!