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‘We’ll do it ourselves!’
Wednesday, 01 August 2012
WITH grant help from the National Lottery, a shop for Northlew is the latest project in the village’s drive to save a rural community from dying.
In 2008, the village lost its post office and telephone box and could not connect to the internet via conventional means as it was too far from a BT exchange.
But not content to accept this as their lot, the community has managed to build a fast internet service for 500 residents, reconnected the disused phone box with calls anywhere in the world for 1p a minute and tomorrow (Friday) will open a converted portable cabin as the new village convenience store.
Christopher Marson, who has been instrumental in all these projects, said: ‘I know there are plenty of new community shops opening around the country since the major post office closures of 2008, but we wanted to demonstrate that Northlew is a village that simply will not take no as a solution.
‘If big companies like BT say we cannot have something, we just go ahead and do it ourselves. The same for the shop. Our closest shop in a round trip of 15 miles. With the price of fuel being so high it was great to see the National Lottery taking so much faith in us and granting us a cheque for £17,000 to help our village back to life.’
There’s no stopping Northlew where villagers have got together to build a new village park for the children and provide a First Responder service because of its remote position.
‘There are so many people in Northlew who want to make this village better for others and have been doing this a long time before Prime Minister Cameron’s social Britain came on the scene,’ added Mr Marson.
The new shop will be opened by MP Mel Stride, Cllr James McInnes and the primary school winner of the village shop sign competition, at 10am tomorrow.
It will stock everything from newspapers and magazines to fresh and frozen goods, coal and logs, wholesale discounted heating oil and alcohol and will be open seven days a week.
There will also be a small area to have a cup of tea and a slice of cake on warm days.
The site is land-leased from the parish council on the village square and the shop has a disabled ramp, wheelchair -friendly shelving, induction loop for the hard of hearing and level access to ensure no-one is disadvantaged.
Mr Marson said that if the shop was successful the long-term plan was to construct a purpose-built store.
All content © of Tavistock Times Gazette unless stated otherwise.
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Sir Ray Tindle
Something to sell?