Firstly the shop doors were opened at 9am by Gordon and Diane Martin, who ran Gorsley Village shop and Post Office for 19 years before their retirement in August 2017.
The official ribbon cutting ceremony was then performed by MP Jesse Norman at 11am with over 150 people from the community joining the celebrations.
Many local residents have been involved in taking this project from an idea to reality in under a year. Community Shops usually take from two years to almost ten years to achieve but when Gorsley was left without a shop, the residents rallied round to set up their own community run enterprise at Gorsley Baptist Church.
In the meantime Post Office services were provided by a temporary mobile service in the car park of Gorsley Baptist Church until the new shop and Post Office was ready.
Many of the local residents were thrilled to get a look around the new shop. A member of the large crowd remarked:?“’It’s like a Tardis, it looks small on the outside but is so well planned it’s transformed inside.”
Fresh Monmouth Bakery bread, pastries and cakes, plus sausages and chutneys were all there for the first customers to sample.
Gorsley also has a full-time Post Office again. It is open throughout the shop’s opening hours of Monday to Friday: 8.30am – 5.30pm and Saturday: 9am – 12.30pm. It is a new local style branch, with an open-plan till alongside the retail counter.
Jacky Bentham, the new Shop Manager, said: “This is a great day for Gorsley. It is hoped that not only will the shop and Post Office be used by the locality but it will also promote community spirit and relations.
“It is part of a larger vision to create a hub that meets the many needs of a rural community. The intention right from the outset was the new shop would be run by the community, for the community, to aid the community.”
Neil Jenkins, Post Office Area Network Change Manager, said: “We are delighted to be able to restore a full-time Post Office to Gorsley inside this wonderful new community shop, which will be at the heart of the community. A full-time branch will make it far more convenient for customers to visit.”
Prior to the shop opening, a community survey asked what people wanted the shop to offer. A Post Office was the top request. Villagers also wanted essential groceries, local produce, greetings cards, bakery and newspapers. All these products and services are available including the Ross Gazette, of course.