Stoke St Gregory lockdown cheer

With lockdown over the summer months, you might have expected a Stoke St Gregory’s village project to fall apart. To try to buy the village pub sounds risky enough. To merge it with the community shop that was hanging on in a temporary site by the village hall even worse. But to try both when pubs were closed and shops found trade constrained by special rules? And yet….

The village shop and pub were both up for sale. Realising that to lose either, let alone both, would rip the heart of the village out, the community took action. The idea was to buy the business of the village shop and the pub building. Then create a community hub that would offer shopping and a communal pub in one building.

Despite the unprecedented situation the shop duly passed into community ownership in April. It has provided a lifeline that could not have been anticipated and which has served to enhance the sense of community that is being generated by this project.

Following completion of the purchase of the Royal Oak this week by the community, Heart of the Village (HotV) are to hold an open day. Showcasing the project for both members of the project and the community. You are welcome to come along and see the Royal Oak from 10:00 to 14:00 next Saturday the 5th September.

This is in anticipation of renovation work starting on Monday the 14th September, with an ambitious target of moving the shop into the premises around the end of October. A rare glimpse of something to smile about in the midst of a pretty grim year….

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