In 2009 the shop at Llithfaen, a small village on the Llŷn Peninsula in Gwynedd, closed and the postal service removed their service from the village. Members of the community came together to run the store voluntarily with as little as £500 to buy stock, and now the Siop Pen-y-Groes is an integral part of the life of the village and an invaluable resource and service. The community company now employs two members of staff in the mornings and volunteers run the shop in the afternoons.
The shop sells papers, bread and milk as well as other general products such as ready-made foods, fuel, frozen food, drinks and snacks. People can order fresh fruit and vegetables as well as local pork, as the group has successfully establish a strong relationship with other local companies. People who come on holiday to this beautiful area of Wales can get hampers in their holiday homes, which have been put together by the volunteers in the shop.
In March last year (2017) Siop Pen-y-Groes received a grant of £649 from the Fund for Wales to buy a credit/debit card payment machine and help with associated costs. This has increased the number of sales in the shop and has helped to secure the future of the enterprise.
The Plunkett Foundation states that “community shops particularly benefit those who are disadvantaged by lack of personal transport, limited physical mobility, and those seeking employment or volunteer opportunities. They engage large numbers of the community and stimulate social activity and community cohesion: typically involving 153 members, 7 directors, 30 volunteers, and 3.3 staff”.
It is surprising how much difference a comparatively small grant can make to communities in Wales. Is there a community shop in your area that can apply to the Fund for Wales?
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