A VILLAGE has pulled together to take over the running of a shop and tea rooms by raising more than £200,000.
Owners of Compton’s Village Shop and Tearoom, Jane Rebeiro and Robin Bray, are handing over the reins to the community after revamping the shop in 2008.
Jane described the store as the ‘heart of the village’, as it provides a meeting place for coffee, and has all the staples on sale in the shop.
It is also a place where local artists and gift makers can display their wares.
“It is a vital thing for us to have, a hub and a meeting place and somewhere to be able to buy staples,” said Jane.
“I think when a community feel they have invested in their local shop they are more predisposed to spend money in it.”
It’s not just the local community investing – the shop lies on the South Downs cycle route and many cyclists have pledged their support. The money raised is from cyclists, walkers, and residents of Compton and surrounding villages.
There were no fundraising events – the money was raised in pledges from those who use and love the store and tearooms.
“The shop is important to local people, especially those disadvantaged by lack of transport or limited by personal mobility,” said Jane.
If the village is snowed in, the store becomes a lifeline for residents as it brings in bread and milk with a 4x4 car.
There has been a shop in The Square at Compton for 100 years, but in 2009 it was revamped and joined by a tearoom.
The shop and tearoom won a Rural Oscar from the Countryside Alliance for the best village shop in the south-east soon after it opened.
In 2012, it had a visit from Defra’s permanent secretary who praised the shop and all it had achieved.
The next step for the community is to apply for grants, to make up the £100,000 shortfall to keep the business going, and to find a tenant to take over the day-to-day running of the shop.
The community will employ the new ‘tenant’, as well as the current staff – two full-time and around nine part-time and weekend staff.
Anyone interested can contact the shop on firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.