Stagecraft supports Plunkett Foundations efforts

Stagecraft supports Plunkett Foundations efforts

The Plunkett Foundation’s aims of helping rural communities to set up shops in the face of a decline in village services, is being supported by leading shopfit business Stagecraft.

The foundation supports communities to set up a range of co-operative and community initiatives, from pubs to land-based enterprises and fishing co-operatives to farming enterprises.

To date, the foundation has helped open 311 community-owned shops: this against a background of 70 per cent of villages having no shop with an estimated 400 commercial shops closing each year.

As a business based in Mid-Wales, Stagecraft understands the difficulties faced by rural communities. Managing director, Tom Davis was heavily involved in setting up a community shop in the nearby village of LLanbadarn Ffynydd.

Tom said: “Community shops and other enterprises are becoming of core importance to village social life and, although they are primarily businesses, the net results are spread much wider into the community.”

With significant experience of fitting-out farm shops and garden centres, Stagecraft has already completed a number of projects in partnership with the Plunkett Foundation.

Plunkett’s head of communications, Mike Perry said: “Stagecraft is a Plunkett Foundation recommended supplier. Tom’s knowledge, developed through helping to set up a community shop, plus Stagecraft’s record of delivering excellent service to a growing number of community shops means that we have no hesitation in recommending them.”

The latest projects were the Whitbourne community shop in Surrey, which was opened by Olympic rowing gold medallist Heather Stanning, a project at Aflrick & Lulsley in Worcestershire and the community shop at Cletwr, near Machynlleth in Mid-Wales.

Villagers in Alfrick and Lulsley set up their shop in a portacabin following the closure of the village post office and shop. To deal with issues of space and light, Stagecraft produced a series of shelving units in whitewashed pine.

A feature of the Whitbourne shop was a slide out counter top to allow for wheelchair access.

Whitbourne shop manager Chris Hall said: “We were delighted with the quality of the work. The shelf heights can be altered dependant on contents or sloped, if required. This arrangement has proved to be extremely flexible, particularly for a new shop finding its feet.”

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