Star backs community shop

STAGE star Ruthie Henshall was among the first shoppers to give her backing to an innovative community project.

STAGE star Ruthie Henshall was among the first shoppers to give her backing to an innovative community project.

The West End actress turned out at the Stutton Community Shop yesterday as the village, near Ipswich, celebrated the opening of the £50,000 facility.

The star visited the convenience shop after the not-for-profit service opened its doors to the public on Friday.

Ray Fishwick, chairman of the organisation which set up the shop, said it was great to have such a high profile customer in their first days.

He said: “She just came in as a customer to look around as she is a local girl. Her father lives in the village and she lives in Manningtree just down the road.”

He added: “The original village shop closed three years ago and we set up a steering group then. Last year we formed a limited company which became a community trust company to safeguard people who contribute funds.”

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Around 40 volunteers are now behind the running of the shop, which stocks everything from newspapers, groceries, diary products, bread cakes and general provisions.

Any surplus above the running costs goes either directly back into the shop or to worthy local projects.

Mr Fishwick said they are hoping to branch into selling items grown by the local community.

“As soon as it becomes available we would like to sell local produce,” he said. “There is not much around at the moment but that is our plan.”

The idea for the shop, based next to the community hall and the village playing field, became a reality after the group acquired a portable building that used to belong to a school in Ipswich.

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