Loneliness is Everyone’s Business

Yesterday, we were delighted to present three more Suffolk stores with their More Than A Shop certificates and window stickers! Each of these village shops is different in its own unique way, but they are united in the fact that they all go that little bit further for their local community, some to the extent that they have actually saved lives!! 

Redgrave Community Shop was such a bright & warm respite from the grey drizzly day yesterday. It’s entirely run by volunteers and used not only by the local villagers, but also by visiting and passing trade, such as the delivery drivers who regularly ‘pop by for their sausage rolls’ on the way through. The volunteers give up their time to keep the shop open all week, even for a couple of hours every Sunday morning so that folk can collect their newspapers, and we heard how grateful people are for that seven day a week contact; always taking advantage of a good chat and natter with the volunteers when they come in.

The shop may be tiny but they pack a whole variety of products into the space, including food supplied by local producers and a range of publications by Quatrefoil, bringing the history of Redgrave & surrounding villages to life and supporting ongoing local historical research.

Jackdaw Stores in Troston have been serving their local community for over 32 years. The interior is packed to the rafters with all sorts of items, supplying food, household items, hardware and diesel fuel. If they haven’t got it in store, they’ll aim to get it in for their customers the next day! This really is an amazing team who go above and beyond in every way to help their customers. Eve, Ann and volunteer Graham (a customer who offered to step in to help out when the owner was unwell for a short period some time back, and never left!) greeted us with a friendly & jolly welcome, but a chat with them also highlighted the more serious & vital role village stores play within a rural community, as they have helped to save the lives of at least four people in the village. By noticing irregularities or absences in regular customers’ routines, they were able to alert assistance to folk who were unwell, incapacitated or had fallen in their homes, and who, because these folk lived on their own, would otherwise not have received it.

Woosters Bakery at the windmill in Bardwell is another store which manages to use a small space to its maximum potential! From a beautiful, cosy, rustic interior, Joe sells fresh produce from local suppliers and can even whip up a barista style coffee or speciality loose leaf tea for his customers. It’s a family run business; established by dad and mum and now Joe and brother, Will, keep shop between Bardwell and their new second store in Bury St Edmunds. The family even run bread making courses! But they are More Than A Shop because their welcoming & friendly approach affords the opportunity for customers & regulars to stay & drink that delicious tea or coffee by the log burner in the corner, or to linger longer for a chat. For some, these conversations could end up being their main, or sole, social contact for the day.

Is there a shop or store in your village or town in Suffolk, which goes that little bit further for their community and you think qualifies as More Than A Shop?

If you know of a store that fits the bill, then please get in touch with us. We’d like to recognise & celebrate them by giving them a certificate and a window sticker, to display that they are part of this wonderful initiative helping to #endloneliness across the county. By becoming part of the initiative they’ll be entered into a competition to be Suffolk’s More Than A Shop Of The Year 2020. We can also put them in touch with local councillors who are on board to help with funding from their locality budgets for little ways to enhance the community aspects of their stores.

Why not download and print our More Than A Shop flyer (as pictured above) and take it along to them to get them involved?