Barrowden and Wakerley community shop was the brainchild of Sheila Saunders who has driven the project, accessed funds, sourced the land, rallied volunteers and organised the whole operation. It is a social enterprise venture, not for profit, that is owned by the community to serve the community.
The shop is a focus for many community activities. It provides groceries for the whole village, an internet café and an outlet for local produce including fruit and vegetables, handicrafts, wooden carvings, honey and bakery items. One manager is employed but most of the staffing is provided by local villagers on a voluntary basis.
In addition the shop provides a valuable commercial outlet for a number of local producers. There are solar panels installed which provide green electricity and reduce the carbon footprint of the shop. In providing a commercial operation twinned with a volunteer ethos Sheila has successfully combined the concept of a social enterprise with providing employment opportunities for local producers and social and community benefit for the village.