Our Story

In 2008 it became clear that our village would not escape from the Post Office closures affecting so many rural communities across the country.

The projected loss of the sub-post office, with its associated shop, would have a profound impact on the village and so a group of volunteers started to investigate a way forward to maintain a shop in the village.

At that time a superb social enterprise support organisation, The Plunkett Foundation, were providing not just expertise to help small communities, but also the critical lifeline of financial support. So with a business plan and a funding plan of a third grant, a third loan and a third community fundraising the campaign began.

As part of the business advice from Plunkett, the group formalised around the formation of an Industrial and Provident Society in 2009, as an incorporated body that trades for the benefit of the broader community.

The campaign pushed on with raffles, walks, social events and anything else that could be thought of to raise money and the 400 strong community of Chittlehamholt, Satterleigh and Warkleigh managed to raise £11,000, which with the co-funding options met the initial budget target of £30,000 to build a new community owned shop in the village.

After the Village Hall granted the Shop a long term lease on a parcel of land adjacent to the main Village Hall car park, a ground breaking ceremony was held on 26 January 2013.

Ground Breaking

With further grants from the National Lottery (Village SOS), the Trusthouse Charitable Trust, the Viscount Amory Trust and the Norman Family Trust the funding was fully in place to complete the shop.

Building works were supported by both local tradesmen and volunteers and the construction and fit out was completed as planned for an opening date of 22 July 2013.


Since opening the shop has been operated by a group of over 30 volunteers, acting as sales persons, cleaning staff, ordering and stocking staff. In addition our Shop Committee, which manages the finances and future of the shop, provides the continuity which is essential for the shops long term prosperity and survival. Without all the efforts of these unpaid ‘community heroes’ the shop would simply not be in the village today.

The shop has been recognised as a leading example of a small local social enterprise, being awarded a Plunkett Foundation Community Co-Operative Award in both 2015 and 2017. In 2017 our Life President was particularly mentioned for his contributions, receiving 48% of the votes cast by the public for the Award nominees.

Our Life President

The Shop is particularly proud of our contribution to the community during the COVID-19 pandemic. During the first, and harshest, lock-down many village residents were advised to ‘shield’ and the shop in concert with the Parish Council sponsored ‘CSW Help Group‘ provided an ordering and delivery system operated by volunteers to drop essential supplies ‘on the doorstep’ for those in need.

The shop continues to look to the future and are currently planning a new extension in 2023 to increase the size of the Social Area and improve our stock holding storage.