Saturday, November 28, 2009

After a shopless year, Hillswick's community store is open!

Hillswick's local shop has been shut for a year, and its absence has been absolutely awful for our remote wee island community. No access to bread, milk, coffee and all the other things you always forget to buy either in Lerwick (35 miles) or Brae (10 miles). No Shetland Times on a Friday morning. No diesel, petrol or last-minute bottle of Buckfast/claret/champagne. The Post Office, once open every day at the shop, is down to two useless (for me) afternoons a week at the community hall. It's hope that the Powers That Post will see sense and give us back our eBay outlet.

Because this week the shop reopened, and this time it's a community-owned enterprise. The building was bought by local development organisation the Northmavine Community Development Company, and nearly all the renovation work (roofing, flooring, shopfitting, external concreting) has been done by local volunteers. Three jobs have been created and inside it's a beautifully fresh, clean and cheerful delight.

I've been in twice so far, and on both occasions got involved in the kind of local chit-chat visits to 'da shop' have always involved. Now what we have to do is make sure the shop is a continuing success, which means using it. Or losing it. It does, after all, belong to all of us.

1 comment:

Ecossaise said...

Hi Tom
I have posted a comment on The Archers (Radio 4) discussion board suggesting listeners read your blog. In the fictional village of Ambridge the village store has to close so there is a plan to turn it into a community owned business. They of course do not have the remoteness of Hillswick! Do hope your store succeeds and that all the locals use it. I sympathise re the PO dilemma - our local PO owner says his branch wouldn't be viable without e-bay & other internet traders, of which there are several in my neck o' the woods (rural Perthshire).