Pub shop at the heart of Wortwell village life is officially opened
- Credit: Nick Butcher
A rural pub aiming to combat its village’s lack of amenities has had its community shop officially opened.
The landlords of The Bell in Wortwell changed its under-used pool room into a shop and café area – making it the only shop in the village.
Chris and Liz Shore were given funding from Norfolk County Council to set up, and councillor Margaret Stone officially opened the new café and shop last Friday.
She said it was an “absolute delight” to open the shop, and praised the landlords for their “amazing” work transforming the pub.
“You’re really bringing the community together,” she said.
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Mr Shore said: “When we first moved in there was a farm shop in the village, but that closed and we got a lot of feedback from the regulars saying they missed having a shop.”
The couple said once they had the initial idea to turn the room into a shop and café area, it soon “snowballed”. They now sell fresh, dried and frozen goods and serve tea, coffee and sandwiches during the pub’s opening hours.
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There is also a small lending library in the room, as well as tables and chairs for people to sit and read a book and drink a coffee.
Mrs Shore said: “The idea popped into our heads to open a shop and the next thing we know we’ve got this far.
“When we took this pub over we wanted it to be a pub that was at the centre of the community.
“When we grew up, that was where everyone came to meet and talk and we wanted to bring community back to the village.”
Mr Shore added: “Reaction has been positive. And we’re looking at it as providing a resource for the community rather than a money-making scheme.
“We wanted to do something that was sustainable.”
The couple have had advice from Pub is The Hub, an organisation of voluntary advisers who help rural pubs provide more services from the community as well as a Community Services Grant of £1,750 from Norfolk County Council.
East Anglia’s regional advisor for Pub is The Hub Terry Stork said: “Schemes like this help to secure a rural community pub’s long term viability.
“Chris and Liz have already made great progress to benefit their community and we wish them well in their venture.”
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