Return of village shop after 30 years will help combat social isolation

Judi Newman, of the Oyster Inn, and Terry Stork, of Pub is the Hub, at the opening of the new Butley

Judi Newman, of the Oyster Inn, and Terry Stork, of Pub is the Hub, at the opening of the new Butley Village Store - Credit: Archant

An east Suffolk village once again has a shop after more than 30 years without one – thanks to its popular pub.

Judi Newman behind the bar at the Oyster Inn serving Audrey Boast, of Butley WI, with goods from the

Judi Newman behind the bar at the Oyster Inn serving Audrey Boast, of Butley WI, with goods from the new village store - Credit: Archant

Butley Village Store has opened at 400-year-old The Oyster Inn and at weekends will be staffed during the busy lunchtime shifts, otherwise pub staff will manage the sales.

Part of the funding for the project in outbuildings at the pub came from a £25,000 grant from The Prince’s Countryside Fund in partnership with People’s Postcode Lottery.

The village store is the culmination of 18 months’ worth of refurbishment and development by owners Judi and Andrew Newman following a four year period of closure. Alongside the shop, they have already opened a micro-brewery and a community cinema club.

Judi said: “The development of the shop has been based on local demand and consultation. Many of our locals had said that they were very keen to see a shop in the village again – in fact it’s something that we mentioned in our blog on the day we took over the pub in June 2016. At the weekend, one lady told me that she had just done an eight-mile round trip to buy some cat food so hopefully she won’t have to do that again.

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“We have been inspired by our work with Pub is The Hub – we love their idea of widening the range of services we can offer at The Oyster Inn to really bring our community together.

“Combined with our own investment and Pub is The Hub’s links to funding we have been able to complete projects that will not only serve to enhance Butley as a destination but will also improve services, combat social isolation and will improve general community well-being.

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“We would like to thank Players of People’s Postcode lottery and The Prince’s Countryside Fund for the grant. We were thrilled to receive the recognition for our community and the added benefits that they have helped us to provide with their generous support.”

The store will be open during pub hours, from noon to 3pm and then from 5 to 11pm from Tuesday to Friday and from noon to 11pm at the weekends. It will be closed on Mondays in the winter months.

It stocks convenience foods and produce from local suppliersm but this excludes vegetables so as not to compete with local honesty box sales but does include baked goods from the award-winning Cake Shop Bakery in Woodbridge.

Parish council chairman, David McGinitty and WI chair, Audrey Boast were on hand to officially open the shop and celebrate the return of the village’s much-needed service. Also at the opening was Terry Stork the local advisor representing Pub is The Hub, the rural pub champions who had supported the development of the project from its inception last year.

Terry Stork said: “Judi, Andrew and the team at The Oyster have shown what pubs can achieve when they set out at the beginning of a big project like this with their locals and surrounding community in mind. Whilst they have invested a great deal of their own money in developing their hospitality business they have also been mindful of local residents’ needs at the same time with these essential services and I know it will reap rewards for community cohesion long into the future.”

“The grant awarded by People’s Postcode Lottery through The Prince’s Countryside Fund was invaluable in supporting the Newmans’ final push to complete their outstanding project.”

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