Village Doorstep - the online store helping remote communities

Church Fenton Community Shop

Church Fenton Community Shop - Credit: Archant

Village stores, real and virtual, have been a lockdown lifeline during the pandemic.

Tina, Jason and Sam Greenwood who set up Village Doorstep

Tina, Jason and Sam Greenwood who set up Village Doorstep - Credit: Archant

The resourceful villagers and volunteers at Church Fenton Community Shop have more than risen to the lockdown challenge over the last few months.

The shop, serving villages in the Tadcaster area, had already proved itself a hero for the community, having won the accolade of Countryside Alliance Best Village Shop/Post Office in 2018.

So when lockdown happened, they ramped up the gears and got on with what they are good at. The volunteer-manned shop proved to be a lifeline for the community staying open seven days a week, and fully stocked. The extended team of volunteers stepped up to offer not only essential food deliveries, but also a secure prescription delivery service twice weekly. They also created a ‘Yorkshire wall’ of locally-produced goods. All profits generated are re-invested into the shop with plans to benefit the community for the future.

The team received a boost with recognition for their efforts from the Lord Lieutenant of North Yorkshire, Mrs Jo Ropner.

A card was delivered to the shop and is proudly displayed for all volunteers and customers to see.

A member of the volunteer team said: ‘All of us feel incredibly proud and fortunate to live in such a wonderful, caring community during these difficult times. Our thanks to all our amazing customers, neighbours, and local suppliers whose continued support make the shop such a success.’

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Meanwhile the Greenwood family in Aldwark, North Yorkshire, created a virtual high street born out of the Covid-19 crisis to support local businesses.

Tina, Jason and Sam Greenwood started Village Doorstep when they were shielding three family members who were at risk of the virus but were struggling to get hold not only essentials but also life’s luxuries.

Their solution was to build a virtual village high street which included the best of local and regional independent businesses. Shoppers ‘walk’ down the street, browsing the shops, going inside for a look around and then, if it takes their fancy, selecting the things they most want. Everything is delivered to the customer doorstep, its 100% contact free and 100% local.

It’s the classic kitchen table enterprise with the family - mum, dad and son home from university - creating a new business in less than a week. To date more than 30 independent shops have joined the ‘high street’, from fishmonger to brewery to plant centre.

Says Tina: ‘It operates at no cost to anyone who uses it; free to use for the shopkeeper and customer, and showcases the fantastic local businesses who are the real stars of the show. During the lockdown we’re doing our bit to help make life a little easier.’

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