A Sussex village shop has been crowned as the best in the South East of England in a national awards ceremony dubbed the “Rural Oscars”.

Fittleworth Village Stores picked up the prize at the 2024 Countryside Alliance Awards.

The awards which are now in their 17th year recognise rural businesses across five categories, this includes:

  • ‘Best local food’
  • ‘Best butcher’
  • ‘Best pub’
  • ‘Best rural enterprise’
  • ‘Best village shop/post office’

Sarah Lee, Countryside Alliance director of policy, commented: "We are proud to be honouring these exceptional rural businesses, and the people behind them who are passionate about providing quality goods, services, and employment to rural communities and beyond.

"Running a business in a rural community isn’t easy, and it’s so important to celebrate the valued role these rural enterprises have in their communities. We look forward to seeing them in London at the national champions reception!"

The full list of regional winners can be found on the Countryside Alliance Awards website here.

Fittleworth Village Stores wins Countryside Alliance award

On its website, Fittleworth Village Stores describes itself as "a community-owned and run shop, café and post office in the beautiful South Downs National Park".

Describing what they offer, it says: "Our shop carries a wide range of local produce and reasonably priced general groceries (including household items and over-the-counter medicines), together with newspapers.

"We are keen to support local farms and businesses so we are proud to stock produce from over 30 local suppliers. We also stock a range of local pottery and art."

Alongside that, they have a Post Office counter and a cafe which offers sandwiches, snacks, cakes, breakfast baps and much more.

The store has earned plenty of positive reviews from customers, with it having a 4./5 score on Google Reviews from 25 ratings.

One person wrote: "Fittleworth Stores what a fantastic gem of a place. Post Office, village store, cafe all rolled into one amazing place. Toni hats off to you and your team, each and every one of you make a visit worthwhile with your relaxed friendly approach."

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Another shared: "What an amazing place! A treasure trove full of household basics, treats and gifts with a post office and cafe. It is right next to the playing fields with a great children's play area next door. All the staff are really friendly and welcoming and they were very helpful and knowledgeable with my post office inquiries."

Meanwhile, another said: "Excellent well stocked shop with great quality products. Staff very friendly and provides first class service. Great cafe."

Fittleworth Village Stores will represent the South East of England region in the national champions reception at the House of Lords in June, competing against other finalists from across England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland.