Sat, 18 May 2019
A WEST Berkshire community hub has put in an Oscar-winning performance.
Hampstead Norreys Community Shop won in the village shop/post office category of the South East Countryside Alliance Regional Awards.
Known as the rural ‘Oscars’, the annual awards celebrate and promote rural businesses, British food and farming, enterprise and heritage.
Hampstead Norreys Community Shop committee member Avril Mason said: “We are so delighted to have made it through to the finals, winning in our region.
“Our community shop is the hub of our community and provides an important place for the local community to meet at its great coffee shop, as well as selling many locally-sourced products for people to buy.
“We are also very proud of our environmental initiatives.
“Fingers crossed the enthusiasm of our volunteers and customers is recognised at the national awards ceremony in June.”
The shop opened in March 2011 and is run by the community, for the community.
Although there are some paid staff, the majority are volunteers and many villagers are shareholders.
It sells locally-sourced produce where possible, has a wide range of gluten-free products and displays local artists’ works in the popular café.
Judges said: "This vibrant and well stocked village shop is the hub and lifeline for people in this rural area, serving the community on so many levels.
"The shop is always evolving and has recently embarked on an initiative to reduce plastic waste.
"From fairs to an art gallery there is always something going on in this lively shop. Partly run by volunteers and non-profit making it is a perfect example of "where there is a will there is a way."
In 2018, the shop won the Plunkett Foundation Rural Community Ownership Award for its work on sustainability and eco-friendly activities.
There could be greater accolades for the shop when the national award winners are announced at the House of Lords in June.