A good news story from rural Somerset

Stoke St Gregory, with a population of only 942 is celebrating a positive village success story, worthy of an award

The village was in danger of losing its remaining Shop and Pub just before the pandemic started

As a result, concerned residents set up a community company, HOTV Stoke St Gregory ltd, to pump life back into the heart of the village.

The Heart of the Village project aim was to buy the Royal Oak, transfer the shop into it and run both shop and pub. A unique feature of this particular enterprise is combining the shop and pub into a community hub alongside a Cafe.

The coronavirus pandemic has fostered “a greater sense of connection”, spurring villagers to volunteer to help others in the community. Faced with this adversity, they could have become more divided and looked for others to blame.

This crisis has brought out the best of community spirit. It is seen in the daily acts of kindness playing out across the village, whether that’s delivering food parcels, phone calls to those who are lonely and isolated at home.

The resilience and ability of Stoke St Gregory’s residents to adapt and mobilise will shape the outcomes for people and places going forward.

The presence of their new hub provides a positive local impact, most frequently by ensuring the provision of a community space and a variety of services that would otherwise be lacking in the area.

Their Pub and Shop and (soon to open) Café, run by the community and for the community help bring people closer together. Importantly, they are a space for older, vulnerable and more isolated residents to access important local services and feel part of their communities.

Further information can be found here


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