Good food on the doorstep

PUBLISHED: 15:18 22 March 2011 | UPDATED: 19:02 20 February 2013

Good food on the doorstep

Good food on the doorstep

The Polstead Community Shop is flying the flag for village independence, says Mark David

The Polstead Community Shop is flying the flag for village independence, says Mark David

Sadly village shops are dwindling in number in Suffolk so when they are surviving and thriving we should all applaud. Theres a fine example at Polstead.

Coming off the Sudbury-Ipswich road, you weave through narrow lanes to this lovely haven, a real village with its own pub and the Post Office and Community Shop, vibrant village hall, all on the village green.

The Post Office has always been in the village green but in the mid-80s a group of villagers got together and founded the Polstead Community Shop. A large caravan was donated, temporary planning was sought and given, a legend was born!

Within a couple of years, the caravan was becoming a bit cramped due to the success of the venture, so the committee sought permission and the capital to build the current premises, attached (physically) to the village hall.

The entire retail operation (apart from the Post Office) is run by volunteers from the village, and this shop has become the focus of Polstead just like any village shop. It is one of 11 in Suffolk, and there are 250 in the UK in total.

The social focus is obvious, just walk in and listen to the conversation, it will be about people, and with the population of Polstead including more people of mature age, this can only be good.

If you look at the prices of what is on the shelf you might be surprised. A lot of items are competitively priced and by the time you have trekked to the supermarkets in the area (at some cost), you might as well spend the money in your local community shop.

You can buy all you need here including locally cured and locally cooked ham on the bone, bacon, sausages, fresh vegetables, pre-packed meats and cheeses in a chiller, ready to eat foods, frozen foods, bread from a baker in Lavenham, fresh eggs, store cupboard essentials like sugar, flour, loo roll, tinned soups and some stunning local jams and chutneys. There is even an ice-cream fridge.

I spoke to Erica Pomerans, one of the founder members and a resident of Polstead for 50 years.

"We hoped this would work when we mooted the idea nearly 25 years ago. The support was good and the result all these years on is rewarding.

"We have a vibrant village shop where people can meet, buy what they need and we all keep our ears to the ground for those who are the most needy in the community".

In a country where village life is constantly threatened, it is refreshing to find groups of people prepared to fight their own corner to keep communities together.

Erica is one of a large team of volunteers who give their time and expertise to this successful project. They always need more volunteers, particularly younger people who live locally.

This is your shop, so keep supporting it and help it blossom!

Polstead Community Shop.

The Green, Polstead

Suffolk CO6 5AL

Tel: 07748 444868

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