Council backs village shops worker
West Oxfordshire District Council has acknowledged the vital support given to village shops by the Village Shops Development Worker with a continued grant of £5,300. The grant will go towards the employment costs for this post, which is managed by Oxfordshire Rural Community Council.
The post was created in 1999 in response to the number of village shops closures in the county. The aim is to strengthen the remaining village shop network by promoting mutual support, providing information, advice, access to new suppliers and representing the needs of village shops to policy makers and service providers. The Village Shops Development Worker makes regular visits to village shops and post offices throughout the county, advising them on issues such as business development, environmental health, publicity, licensing and store layout.
"The local shop is often the focal point of the community. It provides a service for everybody, in particular for those who rely on the shop for their everyday supplies", said Cllr Mary Neale Cabinet Member for Economic Development.
Jane Barker is the Oxfordshire Village Shops Development Worker. She said, "The village shop provides a
social as well as a retail service to the community and is an important part of rural life. Oxfordshire is one of the few counties that has a full time village shop adviser and is leading the way in this field."
The Village Shops Development Worker helps community shops and independently owned village shops.
Community shops are owned and run by the community, for the benefit of the village itself. Eight of Oxfordshire's fourteen community shops are in West Oxfordshire including Ascott, Finstock, Leafield and
Tackley. The most recent Oxfordshire community shop opened in Filkins at the end of last year.
Cllr Mary Neale said, "We have seen many village shops and post offices close over time and it is now good to see that these important local services are returning to some villages. The work of the Oxfordshire Rural Community Council has been 'key' in making this happen and I am pleased that the Council is
continuing to support them."
West Oxfordshire District Council also granted a further £3,100 towards the costs of a Community
Development Worker. The work of this postholder is also undertaken by Oxfordshire Rural Community
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