Oldbuy community shop is nearly ready

Gazette Series: Before: The shop has replaced the old shed on Church Road in Oldbury Before: The shop has replaced the old shed on Church Road in Oldbury

THE TRANSFORMATION of a timber shed into a community shop is complete and the official opening is looming for a South Gloucestershire village that has not had its own shop for more than 10 years.

With the help of grants, the generosity of local people and a share issue, the Oldbury Community Shop Group have enough funds to put the finishing touches to the shop to have it ready for business next month.

The official opening of the Oldbury Community Shop is set for Saturday, February 8 at 11am and ITV newsreader Jane Solomons will be there to cut the ribbon on the day.

More than 50 people have volunteered to help manage the shop, place orders and deal with accounts.

It became a top priority in Oldbury’s Parish Plan in 2013 and a working party set about securing funds for the project. A 9m x 4.8m wooden cabin has replaced an old derelict shed on Church Street.

At the end of July last year, the group was awarded £42,000 from Village SOS, a Big Lottery Fund initiative, to get the scheme off the ground.

They were also awarded £2,500 by Oldbury Power Station owner Magnox in December 2012, which went towards the cost of hiring a consultant to put a solid planning application together.

The share issue was extremely successful and raised nearly £15,000 for the purchase of equipment for the shop and to cover the initial stock procurement.

Chris Awde, vice chairman of Oldbury on Severn Community Shop, said: “The building and car park are now complete and the new fridges and the loaned freezer are due to be installed within the next few days, as is the final centre piece shelving. Our cash register has been installed and BT are due to connect the phone line on February 4.

“We have more than 50 volunteers and committee members, all very excited in bringing a real community spirit into the village and importantly, a great asset in a village that has not had a shop for more than a decade.”

The group hosted a successful coffee morning for volunteers in the shop on January 19. They took the opportunity to update volunteers on the committee’s plans for the shop and details of the training programmes that would be rolled out over the next few weeks for volunteers to complete their training.

The initial opening hours will be 8am-6pm Monday to Friday, 8am-2pm on Saturday and 9pm-12 noon on Sunday.

Mr Awde said: “Our aim is to create a real community hub in the centre of the village where people can not only shop, but meet friends and make new friends, perhaps over a cup of tea or coffee and a nice piece of homemade cake. We intend to sell not only the basic products, but also local produce which we hope will meet the needs of you all. We plan to have freshly baked bread, milk and daily newspapers and magazines on sale. We also hope to be a position for people to buy a nice bottle of wine or a bottle of beer when you are caught short for that dinner party.

“We hope to see you on February 8 and if you can’t make it, we hope to see you in the shop very soon. Your continued support is really appreciated and it’s this community support that will hopefully make the shop a success and something you will be very proud of.”

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