Cash boost for village shop plan

Just Regional
Jan 20, 2021 3 mins read

A project hoping to establish a community shop has received a major boost thanks to a new scheme launched by an award-winning local house builder and a national charity.

The Bodham and Beckham community shop project received a grant of £750 from the Hopkins/Plunkett Communities scheme, which supports new and established community businesses across Norfolk, Suffolk, rural Essex and Cambridgeshire.

The grant has been welcomed by Callum Ringer, vice-chairman of Bodham Parish Council, who is co-ordinating the project, who said it helped them look to the future.

“The Hopkins/Plunkett support has come at a key point for our project,” he said. “Bodham Red Hart, our local pub, has recently opened a temporary lockdown shop, selling all the essentials and supporting our community.
“We want to be able to take this on once the pub is allowed to reopen when restrictions ease.”

In more good news he said that the Post Office had recently agreed to conduct a viability assessment to reinstate the permanent post office service which was lost in 2014.
“We have had support for this from Duncan Baker MP, and Sarah Butikofer – leader of North Norfolk District Council. This money will allow us to set up a community benefit society to take the project forward, and to undertake more feasibility work to progress the scheme.”
The Hopkins Plunkett Communities Scheme launched in June to help businesses with challenges resulting from covid-19.
James Hopkins, executive chairman and founder of Hopkins Homes, said: “2020 has been a tough year for everyone and it is vitally important that the needs and well-being of our communities are supported. We are delighted to have been able to offer support to Bodham and Beckham community shop project. Together, we hope to make a real difference and ease the burden of recovery from this pandemic for many of our community businesses.

“I wish Bodham & Beckham community project shop well with their efforts and urge other community businesses who need advice to get in touch.”
The Plunkett Foundation helps rural communities by promoting and supporting community businesses owned and run by the community on behalf of the community.
James Alcock, Plunkett’s Chief Executive, said he was thrilled to help the project, adding that this was “arguably the most challenging time the sector has ever seen”.apply for the grants.
The Red Hart Inn lockdown shop is open for newspapers and general groceries from 8am and noon and 4pm and 7pm Monday to Saturday and from noon until 2pm on Sundays.

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