Farmborough Community Shop

Farmborough Community Shop

The Fund awarded a grant in January 2018 through our Rural Four project to Farmborough Community Shop in Somerset. Rural Four aims to tackle isolation and loneliness in rural areas, and shops and pubs in rural communities often act as the social hub and heart of their village. Moving full steam ahead, the shop successfully opened in June 2018. We spoke to village resident, Valerie Webster.

Valerie lost her husband, Ian, shortly after the previous shop in the village closed in 2010. Having never driven, she had been reliant upon him to go shopping and to get out of the village.

Valerie told us that she was “in dire straits when the shop closed”. A retired teacher by profession, Valeria had also previously spent time running a village shop – so when the village decided to reopen their shop as a community enterprise, she decided to share her retail experience with the committee.

Valerie knew that there were others who missed the social interaction which only a local shop can offer, and worked tirelessly to promote the project, and organised countless fundraising events, including persuading other residents to buy shares in the project. It took several years, but Valeria persevered and is still a member of the shop’s management committee.

Since the shop opened in June, she volunteers a few times a week as well as using it as a customer.

“Using the shop has given me more freedom of choice, opened up new avenues for friendship and volunteering there keeps my mind alert”. The shop and café have really become a social hub for the village, linking villagers together and restoring a real sense of community.

Click here to find out more about our Rural Four programme, kindly funded by players of People's Postcode Lottery.