New Opening Hours

Mon: 9am – 4.00pm
Tue: 9am – 4.00pm
Wed: 9am – 4.00pm
Thu: 9am – 4.00pm
Fri: 9am – 4.00pm
Sat: 9am – 4.00pm
Sun: 9am – 10.30am

How To Find Us

Post Office

Mon: 9am -1.00pm
Fri: 9am – 11.30am

Ilsington Village Shop
Old Town Hill
TQ13 9RG

Tel: 01364 661788


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Transcript Of Emma’s Interview On Radio Devon 27 Feb 2015

Emma was interviewed by BBC Radio Devon on the subject of Community Spirit, but the show is only available to listen to on line for a short time. With that in mind, please find below a transcript of her interview with Bill Buckley:

Interview transcript BBC Radio Devon 27 Feb 2015 with Bill Buckley.

Bill: Emma’s on the line now from Haytor. Hello Emma.
Emma: Hi.
B: I was asking if there was anybody out there who’s involved in one of these sorts of schemes already and if so, how it’s running, and you’re involved in a community shop. Yes?
E: Yes, that’s right. I manage a community shop in Ilsington just on the edge of Dartmoor.
B: Now if you’re the manager of it, is that a paid job?
E: Yes it is. I’m paid and then I have an assistant manager who’s paid aswell.
B: And then underneath them you have the volunteers?
E: That’s right. We’ve got have over 50 volunteers that help run the shop.
B: Wow! Over 50?
E: Yes.
B: Gosh! How long has that been going on and how easy or difficult was it to build up this team?
E: It’s been going 2 and a half years. Actually we’ve been surprised that we’ve never had a problem and we’ve never had to shut the shop because we couldn’t get someone to run it for us.
B: Wow!
E: Which is really brilliant. We have really long opening hours as well, from 8 in the morning to 7.30 in the evening. But that’s great because it means that you have the retirees and people that are free during the day, mums that work in the mornings and then in the evenings, people that go to work actually come in and then help in the shop in the evenings as well.
B: So some of your volunteers are even working mums? Those people that we think do not have time to put their makeup on let alone work in a shop?
E: Yes and people come in with their children at the weekend. The kids help behind the till too so it’s a really lovely thing. It’s not just retirees helping out at all.
B: At the beginning, how did you find these people?
E: Well it took 4 years to fund raise to actually get the shop open. Our shop in the village shut and then over the 4 years there was lots of involvement fund raising and so on from a lot of people. So we’ve got 200 shareholders and a lot of those people actually said that they would volunteer. We’ve had a few people that drop out, but then you get other people that see that actually it’s really good fun and will come along…
B: Yeah, you’ve taken the words out of my mouth. I was going to ask you about that because there is a school of thought that to start with everybody’s gung-ho, and it’s bringing the village together and then once it gets started, whatever it is, you know, putting salt on the roads or cleaning the loos, or running the shop, it gradually comes down to 3 or 4 people who have to do it all the time. Other people promise to come in but they don’t turn up! But you haven’t had many problems like that?
E: No. I mean we’ve had a few people that decide that actually it’s not for them, but there’s always people moving into the village and so on and we always try and persuade them that actually it’s a great way to get to know people and we have people that don’t know anybody that come in and actually realise that if they come in and help for perhaps a couple of hours a week they’ll meet so many new people.
B: Right. Now what about the cost of all this? Because people say that with supermarkets, the reason that they’re successful of course is that they are huge and they’ve got the economy of scale they can buy in very cheaply.
E: Yes.
B: But of course you haven’t got to pay staff like they have so does that level up the playing field a bit?
E: It helps hugely. So if you go into some convenience shops they can be really expensive.
B: Yes.
E: But actually for us, because we don’t have all those overheads and …..we don’t have to pay rates either and all that really helps us so that actually the stock that we sell is quite competitive.
B: Right.
E: If you’re bulk buying huge amounts then it’s still cheaper to go to the supermarkets but for a lot of people that are just a couple….We have a lot of people who just come in and do their whole weekly shop with us.
B: Gosh! And you’re a big enough shop to stock a big enough range that it will do for a big weekly shop. It must be quite a big shop that you’ve got there?
E: It’s actually really small – it’s 500 square feet.
B: How do you get everything that you could possibly want into a little space?
E: It’s squashed in!
B: Must be!
E: I am an expert a squeezing stuff in. People are like:”No, not more new lines! And I’m like: “Yeah, we can get some more in there and if we move this around, we can fit some more in there!” So there’s always new stock in which keeps people coming in to see what interesting stuff we have got coming in.
B: And why hadn’t it worked as a commercial venture? Was it the prices or was it not putting a bit of everything in there? Or what, do you know?
E: It’s just it’s really hard work to run a shop on your own. I mean I’ve got 50 people that can help me and that’s brilliant. The idea of doing it all on my own, 7 days a week, working 8 to 7 would just be such a strain on one or two people. Whereas we have a committee as well that do a lot of the paperwork, so it just really makes a difference, I think.
B: Now because of this, has this lead on to people in your patch doing all these other things, or maybe do you think they’d consider doing these other things we have talked about – gritting the roads, filling in potholes, and even dare I say, cleaning the toilets?
E: I think you would get more interest because I think it has made a difference as far as people feeling like they’re part of the community. The more people you know in the area, so certainly where we’ve got some elderly people that have been ill and things like that, actually people would come out of the woodwork and say “Oh I can go and get their shopping for them or I’ll go and help take them to the doctors”. Yeah, you just get much more of that feeling that people want to work together.
B: So we shouldn’t see this as an imposition and we shouldn’t see this as governments failing us and making us do things for ourselves, we should see it as an opportunity.
E: Absolutely. Yes.
B: Thank you very much, lovely to talk to you. There we are, there’s Emma who manages a community shop in Haytor. There is an upside to us having to do it ourselves, it would appear.

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