The year 2020 was pretty tough; from COVID lockdowns to the joys of ‘home learning’, it was enough to send the best of us running for those Yorkshire Wolds. But amidst loo-roll buying frenzies and the many hardships we faced, Bishop Wilton villagers united to open their linchpin of village life. Today we celebrate the shop’s first birthday with a look back on the best moments of 2020.
After the Bishop Wilton community lost the previous shop in June 2018 the village came together to launch this much-needed service. We were able to raise a huge amount of funds from shares, grants and donations which allowed for the shop’s transformation; Stripping back the old building and exposing original beams, we installed new lighting and have now created a space that our community has throughly enjoyed over the last year.
Two: Our members and volunteers
With 232 community members, mainly from the local area but some as far afield as Switzerland, Malaysia and Australia, we were able to work with the church, the school and the village hall throughout the COVID pandemic to provide essential services to all who needed it. The shop was even used by the Plunkett Foundation as a case study example of how communities united during the challenging times of 2020. See here https://plunkett.co.uk/community-shop-shows-innovation-and-adaptability-to-keep-serving-amid-covid-19/
The commitment from the volunteers during an unsettled first year has been resolute. Sixty-eight active volunteers ensured that the shop remained opened throughout the COVID pandemic and not one shift went uncovered. With a total of 2,215 shifts at 2.5 hours per shift, shop volunteers have covered 5,537.5 hours since first opening on 30th January 2020!
Three: Our local area
In a year where the village’s sports clubs, pub and church were all forced to close, the shop provided residents with a sense of community and togetherness and the service was vital for many of those shielding and self-isolating. Multiple fantastic local suppliers ensured that the shop’s shelves remained fully stocked and allowed the shop to provide its vital service through a very unsettled period.
Four: Bishop Wilton in the news
We received some fantastic press and media coverage, the shop featured on the front cover of the Pocklington Post twice and the front cover of the Parish Pump many times, as well as having multiple radio appearances and even achieving national media coverage! See here: https://www.yorkpress.co.uk/news/18319037.no-panic-buying—say-bishop-wilton-community-shop/
Five: Our future
As we enter our second year, the beginnings of the Bishop Wilton Careers Programme are underway. The programme is designed to help local students demonstrate work experience and training and thus gain employment. The shop looks forward to re-starting high-quality training and local supplier events and will be opening our wonderful cafe as soon as the restrictions allow.
After a turbulent first year and as we celebrate this little community shop’s first birthday, we want to send a big thank you to all of our community for the unwavering support throughout 2020 and we look forward to many more years of success to come.
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