An established community shop in Blunsdon re-opened in Spring 2023, with new and improved facilities. Blundson Community Shop was established 20 years ago to serve the community of Blundson in North Wiltshire. Owned by residents and supported by the Parish Council, the shop is operated as a cooperative. Whilst the shop is operated on a not-for-profit basis, Blundson Community Shop has generated a turnover of approximately £3m since it opened. Surplus from the sale of daily staples, newspapers and other items is reinvested back into the shop and the local community.
Following engagement with developers and the Parish Council, representatives for the community shop had identified an opportunity to move from temporary facilities to a new, permanent building which would be leased from the Council for a peppercorn rent. The new premises were made available as part of the new Hayfield Wood development. Developers Hayfield had agreed to donate a new building to the Parish Council for the benefit of the community.
The new premises offered more retail space and space for a new coffee shop. This was felt to be essential as the community had grown in size since the shop first opened and needed to expand to meet demand. As part of the vision for the improved premises, Blunsdon Community Shop planned to utilise additional space to sell beer, wine locally produced fruit, vegetables and meat and other fresh, near-zero air-mile products. The shop also aimed to create a local community hub where people could meet over coffee and offer new services for the village with the addition of mail and parcel services.
Blundson Community Shop approached Community First in November 2020 to complete a grant application for funding through the Landfill Communities Fund. The funding would cover the cost of new equipment including fridges, freezers, display areas, counters, shelving, wall units, a barista-style coffee machine and café seating (including indoor and outdoor covered seating). The application was successful and Blunsdon Community Shop received a total of £28,000, with £18,000 from Crapper and Sons Ltd for joinery and fixings and £10,000 from The Hills Group Ltd for the café and white goods for the shop.
The shop re-opened at the new location on 25th March 2023. Local resident and television personality Nick Knowles attended the re-opening event, along with shop representatives and Community First Grants Manager Mary Hardwidge. Congratulations to everyone involved in supporting this important local, community facility for the village of Blunsdon.