A COMMUNITY shop in Ferryden would be a valuable village resource and help to lessen people’s feelings of isolation, the woman behind the scheme has said.
The village shop and Post Office closed in 2011 due the difficult economic climate. With little passing traffic in Ferryden, owner Brian Noble relied largely on the village residents but at the time said this alone was not enough to make the shop viable.
While Post Office Limited now runs a replacement outreach postal service from Inchbrayock Church hall, nothing has replaced the shop itself which is still missed by villagers as there is no outlet closer than Montrose where they can buy convenience items.
Now resident Maureen Heron, who put forward the idea initially last year, has started investigating how viable a community-run facility would be. With the community council’s backing, she will shortly circulate questionnaires around homes in Ferryden although she has already carried out her own a door-to-door survey.
She said: “I went around some of the houses and called a meeting in the village recently, and those who were there seemed quite keen and we generated the questionnaire from that.
“There’s little here and if the pub goes, that’s it, there will be nothing. When I went round the houses people said they felt isolated, which I thought was surprising for a small community so maybe if we had this and people were willing to do voluntary work, it would help them.
“I also thought it would be good for work experience for young adults. I don’t want this to be just a shop, but something everyone will get use of as a local hub and central meeting place.”
Maureen has been in touch with the Community Retailing Network for advice on how to set up a shop and form a co-operative which would run the facility on a voluntary basis to begin with.
The network aims to help communities to access the goods it needs through co-operative action, relieve unemployment and address the effect of rural isolation and problems of social exclusion.
Maureen added that the proposals are at a very early stage and the first step will be to assess the village’s response before taking them further.
She continued: “It’s a straightforward questionnaire, just three questions, and if we can even get 50 per cent behind the idea that would be great. There would be lots of advantages to having a shop and it would be ideal in floods and snow. There are around 280 community shops and all of them have been in a position to employ staff and have been successful.”
Anyone interested in volunteering to form a steering group can contact Maureen by e-mail on firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07906 498321.