Barely used toilet block transformed into a stylish community shop and cafe

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A barely used toilet and kitchen block has been transformed into a stylish retail outlet, so a village can once again “shop local”. Parracombe’s new community shop and café opens its doors for the first time this week, after months of work.

An army of volunteers installed refurbished shelving and furniture as well as plumbing, painting and decorating, so that the doors to the shops and the Pavilion cafe could open on Thursday, May 12. There was also training for 34 volunteers who will serve behind the counter.

Two new jobs have also been created as part of its seven-day operation. Co-managers Teresa Tucker and Felicity Cross will manage the store and its employees, and focus on providing a range of Southwestern products. Teresa said: “It’s a great feeling to help launch the Community Shop. And the cafe is equally important as it is a place where our customers can meet to chat and catch up at any time of the day.

Felicity added, “We have a wonderful community and I can’t wait to get more involved and help the shop and cafe grow into something very special.”

Residents have helped raise over £70,000 through actions to deliver the project, located in the village park. This amount was then co-financed by the cooperative. The Prince’s Trust Countryside Fund also stepped in with a grant to cover staff salaries.

The store project was initiated by the Parracombe Community Trust, after the shops in the village closed several years ago. Chairman Dave Austin said: “The Pavilion Stores and Café has had the best possible start to life thanks to committed local people investing in our beautiful corner of Exmoor.

“With our partners in the Co-Op Booster Fund, the Prince’s Trust and supporters everywhere, we now have the foundation for a successful business and, just as importantly, a business that brings our incredible community even closer together. ‘

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