MP visits Fittleworth’s new community store
Arundel & South Downs MP Nick Herbert visited the newly opened Fittleworth Stores on Friday (30 November) to congratulate them on their nomination for a ‘rural oscar’.
Mr Herbert was welcomed to the new shop and café by Alison Welterveden, a Fittleworth resident and parish councillor who helped to lead the project, taking it from a vision to a busy village hub.
The new building, located on the edge of the recreation ground in the village, includes a shop selling cupboard store essentials and local produce, and a café. In January, a full-time Post Office counter will also be open. Two new outdoor play areas have been built as part of the project providing new equipment for different age groups.
The new store is wholly owned and run by the village community. Money was raised through a number of grants including from the South Downs National Park Authority, National Lottery funding, donations and a local share offering.
Fittleworth has not had a village store or Post Office since 2011. When Alison moved to the village four years ago with her young family she missed having a local shop, so she initiated the project in 2016 and has been actively involved throughout.
Mr Herbert met some of the 50 volunteers who have given their time to staff the shop and café. They are delighted about being nominated for a Countryside Alliance Award in the category Village Shop category. Regional champions will be announced next May and the finals will be held in June at the House of Lords.
Mr Herbert said: “I am very impressed with what has been achieved through a tremendous local effort. I can see why the community is so proud of its new store, and I am also very pleased to hear that a full-time Post Office service will be returning to the village. I know this has been something which many residents have missed.
“This is now the sixth community shop in my constituency. They are proving a huge success, showing the power of community action to keep local facilities alive at the heart of our villages”.
1. Photograph 1: (L-R) Mick Foote, volunteer and parish councillor, Alison Welterveden, volunteer and vice-Chairman parish council, Nick Herbert, Alan Sutton.
2. For more information about the Fittleworth Stores see www.fittleworthstores.co.uk.