More Than A Shop logo under red & white canopy and framed by photos of community shop images

More Than A Shop is an initiative which acknowledges the vital role Suffolk’s rural shops play in helping to address loneliness and isolation across the county, and celebrates them for going above and beyond for their local communities.

More Than A Shop aims to inspire local shops to be more than just provisions stores, encouraging them to be places of friendship, welcome and connection.

The coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak has altered the way we shop. Our local stores, particularly those in rural villages, came to the forefront during the pandemic, with staff and volunteers being recognised as essential, front-line, key workers helping to care for and sustain our rural communities.

These stores

  • coped with increased demand for particular items,
  • offered home deliveries to customers needing to stay home or self isolate,
  • managed small teams of staff and volunteers who may have had to take necessary time off to quarantine themselves or take care of their families,
  • provided extra services outside their usual remit, such as helping with pharmacy collections, 
  • became an important source of social connection for people who were unable to leave their homes,
  • became a vital service for the more vulnerable and elderly residents, and for those shielding and self isolating.

They did all this with great heart, empathy and enthusiasm, working long hours, whilst facing uncertainty for their own future, and many rural stores have continued to go the extra mile post-lockdown.

The gallery below displays some of the rural Suffolk stores who have been nominated by their communities for the outstanding service they have provided to them, before, during, and beyond lockdown.

Is your community store  #MoreThanAShop?

For some people, visiting their local shop is a huge part of their social contact, maybe their ONLY contact. Being able to provide extra services, home deliveries and regular friendly connection are proving to be life-lines for Suffolk residents right now.

We need to celebrate & support our local shops more than ever! If your local shop is #MoreThanAShop to you, please let us know about the ways in which they are supporting your community. We would like to thank them for what they are doing, send them a certificate to recognise the kindness and friendship they offer, and add them to our gallery!

All #MoreThanAShop stores will receive a lovely window sticker to display, along with their certificate. Our pre-Covid intention was for the initiative to culminate in a competition at the end of 2020, but Covid-19 has altered plans, so we will keep you posted on this, but in the meantime keep the nominations coming!

We will be adding a section shortly with all the wonderful More Than A Shop nominations we have already received!

On Monday 25th November we launched our new initiative at the Somersham & District Community Shop, Suffolk, with the help of their MeetUpMondays™ group!

Here’s a few words from Rural Coffee Caravan Founder Sally Fogden and Suffolk County Councillor James Finch as to why this simple idea can make such a big difference to local communities…

If you run a shop in a rural Suffolk community and you are providing extra service for your customers during this time, we would love to hear from you too! Thank you for all that you are doing to help keep the members of your community safe, connected, well and stocked with essentials.

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