Stoke Saint Gregory, a small rural village in Somerset, is not immune from COVID-19 and this makes it difficult for the community to rally together to maintain its village shop and pub. But the village community group, HOTV, has proved incredibly resilient during the current lockdown restrictions.
Past crises have highlighted the resilience and adaptability of our small village community. Recent widespread flooding on the Somerset levels in 2014, the Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) outbreak in 2001 and the associated rural shutdown illustrated this and could well serve to act as a source of resilience during the current crisis.
Prior to the COVID-19, concerned residents set up a community company, HOTV Stoke St Gregory Ltd, to pump life back into the heart of the village and save its remaining shop and Pub.
Spokesperson Graham Gleed said: “the Heart of the Village project was set up as a Community Benefit Society to buy the Pub and incorporate the Shop into the Pub.
- Community Funding was completed with over £200,000 raised in six months an amazing effort!
- This has permitted us to secure additional funding from the Plunkett Foundation and Somerset Social Enterprise Fund
- The shop, temporarily located in a container passed seamlessly in to community hands on April 1st.
- We were faced with a significant challenge as our pool of trained volunteer helpers evaporated under social distancing etiquette, at a time when the shop would be needed most. Assistant shop mangers were recruited to start work immediately to ensure continuity.
- A strict covid policy was put in place which has worked very successfully
- Shop takings have improved significantly and the number of home deliveries has tripled.
We can be very proud of what has been achieved under exceptional circumstances in providing an essential service to the community when circumstances could have easily resulted in failure.”
All the latest news on HOTV visit their website- https://www.stokestgregory.org/businesses/hotv-2/hotv-news/