Somersham: Grant returns shop to heart of village

SOMERSHAM: Villagers were full of joy today after it emerged that a �48,000 grant would see their much-needed community shop re-opened.

Somersham and District Community Shop Community Interest Company (SOMSHOP) have secured Big Lottery Fund (BLF) cash, which will allow them to re-instate a shop at the heart of the village.

Residents have been without a shop since the previous one closed in 2007.

The community has rallied around in support of a new project as a way to generate revenue to improve other local amenities, provide a social meeting point and to strengthen community spirit.

Their efforts have seen them secure �48,825 through the BLF’s Reaching Communities initiative.

Terry Fordham, project committee member at SOMSHOP, said: “Our village is in a rural location with a limited bus service and we haven’t got anywhere close by where you can get provisions easily, especially consumables and fresh food.

“This is particularly difficult for the elderly and infirm in our community and we intend to offer help to these people, including a home delivery service.”

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Mr Fordham told The Evening Star that the new shop would act as a meeting place for village residents.

“It will be staffed by volunteers which means new opportunities will be created in the community for people to learn new skills and contribute to community life.”

It is hoped the shop will be up and running by spring.

Meanwhile, Ipswich-based charity, Suffolk Carers Limited, has also received a grant to ensure that they can continue helping young people to look after a parent with drug or alcohol abuse problems.

The BLF awarded the group �268,243, which is set to benefit about 300 young carers aged between nine and 24.

Sara Betsworth, head of the BLF’s East of England branch, said: “What tremendous news for these projects this festive season. The Somersham and District Community Shop Community Interest Company is a great example of the Big Society in action, where community and voluntary action had resulted in a fantastic achievement for the benefit of the wider community.”

n Is your community pulling together? Call The Evening Star on 01473 324788 or e-mail starnews@eveningstar.co.uk