Gawsworth Shop celebrates 10th birthday

Four ladies stood outside village shop

Volunteers celebrate Gawsworth Community Shop's 10 years. - Credit: Gawsworth Shop

From birthday cake and locally-produced hampers to humorous odes, the people of Gawsworth had a balloon-filled couple of days celebrating 10 years of their volunteer-run community shop.  

The birthday celebrations kicked off on March 10, with customers treated to a slice of birthday cake before being entered into a prize draw to win goodies from local suppliers including Chatwins Bakery, Forest Gin, Granelli’s Ice Cream, Spearings Butchers and Wincle Brewery.  

A proper birthday volunteer bash (fingers are crossed for a ceilidh) is planned for later in the year, an event that usually happens in local village pub The Harrington Arms. 

Man behind village shop counter

David Rutley MP joining in as a volunteer behind the counter. - Credit: Gawsworth Shop

Since opening originally as a shop-in-a-box in March 2011, the village shop has been a hive of activity and has provided the opportunity for customers and up to 70 volunteers, young and old, to benefit from a unique community project.

Volunteer Diane Lynch says: ‘There is an enormous sense of community pride. It is especially significant because the shop has been run by a group of dedicated volunteers, many of whom have been there ever since it opened.  

‘It was lovely to get the balloons up and give every customer a piece of birthday cake with a chance to win a hamper of local products – even better that our friendly village postman won it. 

Two people inside village shop with hamper

Volunteer Pauline Fawcett presenting the birthday prize draw hamper made up of products donated by local suppliers to the winner, Gawsworth village postman Robin. - Credit: Gawsworth Shop

‘Celebrating this milestone not only gave the opportunity to raise awareness of the achievement, but also to thank the volunteers, customers and local suppliers without whom it wouldn’t work.’ 

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The 2019 purchase of the building next door – helped by a £53,000 National Lottery Reaching Communities Fund – has gone even further since, creating a community hub which has served as a lifeline for residents throughout the pandemic. 

There has been newsletters, quizzes and a fundraising craft table, and now lockdown is easing, the plan is for friends to meet for a coffee and catch-up. 

Diane adds: ‘We are excited to have the new community hub that we will formally open late this year to bring everyone together after the pandemic and take the shop on to its next stage of development.’