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Community shop opening - Sarah's report

Saturday 6th March saw the official launch of the Community Shop in Ashton Hayes. Delighted villagers from Ashton Hayes and Mouldsworth cheered and watched with pride as Postmistress Helen Rimmer cut the ribbons to the shop. With the prospect of losing the much loved village store on Kelsall Road, volunteers have worked hard to preserve it for their community. Also present when the ribbon was cut was Neil Ritchie, Deputy Mayor of Chester. He made a sterling speech praising the efforts of the volunteers in the community, singling out Lisa Allman among others, who spearheaded the whole campaign.

Naomi Deynem is the oldest volunteer at the shop. She has lived in the village for over 40 years. She said: “I think that a village without a shop is a village without a heart. I’ve been closely involved in the project as I feel it’s so useful. The shop has always been the focal point of the Community.” 

The shop has already endured several transformations and now as it’s community led it has been refurbished. The major change is that the till has been moved from the back of the shop to the front. There has recently been two new chillers installed as well as a new Till, Bake and Bite shelf and greeting card stand. 

Store manager Deb Deynem said: “We are providing lots of local produce such as the fruit, veg and eggs. We have some lovely jam made in Manley, it’s all going down a treat.” 

The store also shares some space upstairs with ‘The Ash-Worth Time Bank' who offer a free community service to all people who live locally for help with jobs and for general company.

Volunteer Alison Forster, 47 said: “I am volunteering as I want to keep the shop going and I have retail experience.”

At the event there was a mini-market and several market traders promoting and showcasing their various products. These were things such as local Weetwood Ales from Utkinton, Organic soup, Family Jam and samples of local fresh produce. There was also a free raffle to which the winner recieved a sum of money to spend in the store.

Fundraising has played a vital contributor to the conversion, with over £30,000 raised. There was a lot of support from the Going Carbon Neutral project, who had a display in one corner of the shop.

Mrs Rimmer said: “I feel a huge sense of relief that the shop is now a shared project. What they have done to the premises is absolutely amazing and I’m really happy.”

The Ashton Hayes shop is open Monday to Friday from 7.30am-6pm; Saturday 8am-5pm and Sunday 8am-12pm. For further information please call 01829751210.

Sarah Tuson, special reporter

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