When the Post Office and shop at Gorsley closed last year the residents of this small village near to Ross-on-Wye were determined they would not join the hundreds of rural communities without a such a vital amenity. And on Saturday, September 1st they will be celebrating when their new Community Shop opens.

For the past year local residents have worked extensively to form the Community Shop and Post Officer. “For the past 100 years Gorsley has had a village shop in the same location,” explained Andrew Gardner, the chair of the steering team, “rural communities need such spaces to not only offer the produce they sell, but this is where communities come together, get to know and support one another. For these reasons it was so important to find a viable way to re-establish the void left by the shop closure.”

He told the Gazette that it has truly been a community effort. The Community Shop has found its new home in a renovated room of Gorsley Baptist Church, the necessary fundraising has been generated by individual donations and loans from community members, and the shop will be staffed by volunteers.

“Having a shop and Post Office within a church premises are not an everyday occurrence”, said David Taylor-Black, the Pastor of Gorsley Baptist Church, “This initiative compliments other plans we have as a church to develop and build community cohesion in and beyond Gorsley. Jesus has instructed the Church to be relevant and make a positive difference in people’s lives, we believe by offering a lease to the shop to use a room is just one of the ways Gorsley Baptist Church is making a positive contribution to community.”

The shop will stock groceries, newspapers, including the Ross Gazette, fresh fruit and vegetables, stationery, and gift cards, alongside a Post Office Local which provides the usual Post Office services including banking, and mobile top ups. Jacky Bentham, the part-time Shop Manager told the Gazette:?“We have been conscious to source the right suppliers to provide quality produce, including local producers of fresh bread and meat. We hope the shop gives that something extra that is not found in larger supermarkets.”

After the grand opening on Saturday the shop will be open 8.30am-5.30pm Monday-Friday and 9am-12.30pm on Saturdays.