A COMMUNITY-run village shop has been nominated for a Rural Oscar - otherwise known as the Countryside Alliance Awards - after just one year of trading.

Hawkesbury Stores’ nomination comes hot on the heels of another piece of good news.

The shop has reported sales 44 per cent ahead of its business plan in its first year of trading.

More than 60,000 transactions have passed through the store’s till in the last 12 months, exceeding all expectations.

After threat of closure of its previous shop, the parish of Hawkesbury came together in early 2016 to raise the funds to buy and run it themselves.

The Save Our Shop campaign raised more than £160,000 in finance through share purchases from more than half of households in the parish.

Hawkesbury Stores opened in June 2016, and is run with a mix of paid and volunteer staffing.

Chris Couzins-Short, chairman of the management group, said: “More than 300 local people invested in this project to get it going, and it was wonderful to hear the gasps at our recent AGM when we presented the finances for our first year of trading.

“Two things have been key to our success: the first is the constant improvement of the range of stock we offer.

"The second is the community’s involvement. From our shareholders, to our volunteers that work behind the counter or help us with maintenance, and gardeners who donate their gluts of fruit and veg for us to sell.

“With everyone involved, Hawkesbury Stores has become the heart of the village.”