Motcombe Village Shop

May 17th, 2010 | by nick |

On Saturday I went to the auction of promises for the Motcombe Village Shop. For my part I walked away with a couple of pictures (and a few pennies given to a great cause), and a promise of my own to do a magic show for a group of children – so I’m going to have to dust off all my magic kit from when I was a magician in my teens! It was a great evening, full of bonhomie as well as great food and copious wine – and a brilliant performance by the auctioneer, David.

But much more striking was the wonderful initiative shown by the committee that set to make this happen, and the community spirit of the village. They have, through a variety of funding activities, nearly raised the money necessary for the village to take on the shop. Many people didn’t think this could be done, and it was a disappointment to me that the district council was unlikely to be able to help out beyond advice, but it really looks like they are going to prove the cynics wrong.

When I first moved to the village, there were real doubts as to whether the post office would survive. I wrote up a plan for Andrew and Sarah as to how they might be able to transfer the shop to the village as a community asset, but at the time it wasn’t a goer. It is of course, one thing to write a plan and another to deliver on it! I looked back over my previous comments about the shop, and found this, from back in 2008:

“But the success of a village is not how well it fits a Constable picture, but how it works as a group of people, and a community. And if that community doesn’t think to shop locally, well it won’t need a local shop. There’s great community in Motcombe; the Moviola, and the fete, are great examples. And the plethora of local produce for sale around the village is evidence that maybe all is not lost, just that things are changing. Evolving.

We can, and should, be furious for the government’s treatment of the post offices. But in fact I think maybe the fury should be aimed at the way they have proceeded, not necessarily the actual (likely) closure of post offices – for that we ought maybe look closer ot home.”

Looking back on it, I think I was a bit angry – like Andrew & Sarah I was exhorting the people of Motcombe to do their bit, and support the shop. I lost count of how many times I heard that milk was 5p cheaper at Tesco, with little heed to the added value of a village shop, not to mention the cost – environmental and financial – of driving to Shaftesbury.

But if that was a challenge, the village has risen to it, and how! There’s more to do, and the shop does need the village to use it, not just fund it. But that first hurdle has been achieved, and the sense of “we can do it” was tangible on Saturday. At risk of sounding schmaltzy, I’m privileged to be the councillor for a village that can show such initiative and drive.

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