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Aspire grant helps fire-hit businesses in Effingham to open new pop-up community store

Effingham has a new community store, thanks to the support of Guildford Borough Council, Effingham Parish Council and the hard work and quick thinking of local residents and churches.

Effingham community store

A serious fire devastated several shops on The Street in Effingham last month, including the Village Supermarket and Bevans Butchers. Not only were two local family businesses out of action while repairs took place; it also left the community of Effingham without a village store in the middle of the coronavirus lockdown restrictions. With elderly and vulnerable local residents unable to travel to buy groceries, the local community sprang into action, working with local vicar Reverend Mandy MacVean and St Lawrence and Little Bookham parish churches.

Local resident and member of the Community Store management team Chris Dick explains: "To help the more vulnerable in our community who need access to a local shop selling food and essential household items, we decided to set up a temporary Community Store. The owners of Layla's Café on the Street, Euna Kang and Ian Shier, have kindly allowed us to operate from their premises and we'd like to say a big thank you to them, all our volunteers and the many local businesses who have stepped up in our hour of need."

The new 'pop up' store will be run by local volunteers and will be open 10am - 2pm, Monday - Saturday until the Village Supermarket is able to start trading again. Any profits will be donated to Effingham Parish Council's Community Fund.

Cllr Julia McShane, Lead Councillor for Community at Guildford Borough Council says: "When we heard about the terrible fire in Effingham we wanted to help. Shops are at the heart of any local community, especially at the moment, so when local residents approached us, we were happy to be able to offer a £5,000 grant from our Aspire fund. Aspire is here because we believe every person matters and residents are at the heart of everything we do. We support communities to develop local solutions to local issues and this is the brilliant example of how the community has come together to solve a problem which affects everyone in Effingham."

Effingham Parish Council also agreed to donate £5,000 to help the new Community Store get up and running to provide a vital service to the local community.

Cllr Liz Hogger, Effingham parish councillor and Guildford Borough Councillor for Effingham, says: "This magnificent effort by local volunteers is a wonderful example of the community spirit which has come to the fore during this dreadful coronavirus situation. It is great that both our local Councils, parish and borough, have stepped up to the mark to provide immediate funding to make the Community Store a reality."

Published on Thursday 21 May.