Sproughton shop with local people and produce at heart

Manager of Sproughton Community Shop Wendy Lavington.

Manager of Sproughton Community Shop Wendy Lavington.

In Sproughton, a village just outside Ipswich, you’ll find a pub, the church and the Millennium Green.

Sproughton Community Shop.

Sproughton Community Shop.

But it is also home to a lifeline for some local residents – Sproughton Community Shop.

This little shop next to the Tithe Barn is fit to bursting with everything you’d need from your weekly shop – from fresh fruit and veg to baking essentials.

But what makes it different from some other village shops is that many of the products are locally sourced and seasonal where possible.

The shop offers almost 1,000 different lines of stock and works with 34 local suppliers.

Locally sourced produce at the Sproughton Community Shop.

Locally sourced produce at the Sproughton Community Shop.

It is run as a community interest company, of which Rosalind Lavington is one of four directors.

A team of 22 volunteers man the shop, plus there is a manager, who is Rosalind’s daughter-in-law Wendy Lavington.

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“We liken ourselves to the Bermuda triangle here, between Asda, Tesco and Morrisons,” said Rosalind. “We need to differentiate ourselves and the way we have tried to do that is by stocking a lot of local produce.”

“All of ourmeat comes from Grangeworth Quality Farm Foods in Woodbridge, for example,” she added.

Locally sourced produce at the Sproughton Community Shop.

Locally sourced produce at the Sproughton Community Shop.

In the fridge you’ll find dairy products from Marybelle, as well as bacon from Debenham and local cheeses. The packed shelves include Suffolk Honey, Hill Farm oils and eggs from Flowton.

There are fruit juices made by James White and Maynard Orchard too.

Baked goods include pies and pasties from Capel Country Foods which, Rosalind says, are “second to none” and bread from Baker’s Delight in Capel St Mary.

Plants from Katie’s Garden are on sale here and the shop offers a dry cleaning service, which is becoming increasingly popular.

As well as stocking local produce, the shop offers a range of Fair Trade items.

“We also sell Coffee Link decaffeinated coffee, which is jolly good, high-quality stuff,” said Rosalind. “All of these are premium products.”

But, she points out, they are all competitively priced.

“The other helpful thing is that we have a big range of low-packaging products,” she added.

You’ll also find a selection of gluten-free and dairy-free products, including dairy-free chocolate.

“I do my shopping exclusively at this shop in order that I can be fairly certain that anybody who can’t get out of the village can sustain themselves here,” she explained. “We manage perfectly well.”

The shop also sends boxes of food out to people who are unable to leave their home.

The idea of the shop came out of the parish plan, and opened in 2010 after a number of grants were gained.

“We have just celebrated our fifth birthday, which is pretty astonishing when you think where we started,” said Rosalind.

The shop has recently been able to donate money to the Millennium Green to help install a standpipe for village events, including the local fete.

“Being able to give some money to a village organisation is very pleasing,” she concluded.

“We hope to be able to support a number of charities in the village in the future.”

n For more details, go to www.sproughtoncommunityshop.co.uk or call 01473 747768.

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