Hawkchurch Community Shop

The story of our community shop

In March 2012, the community of Hawkchurch was invited to a consultation event in the Village Hall. The burning question: “Does Hawkchurch need a shop?” The consensus was yes, it would bring many benefits to the community.

A Committee was formed, and the first meeting took place on 5 April 2012. There was lots of work to be done. Money was raised through a combination of donations, grants and the sale of shares.

A Constitution was written, and bank accounts were opened. Hawkchurch Community Shop Limited was registered with Companies House.

A site needed to be found and Mr. and Mrs. Cowling generously offered space on their land. Planning permission was obtained, the lease was signed. A second hand portacabin was purchased to become the Shop’s first home.

There was a long list of items needed. An electricity and water supply, telephone, internet, EPOS (electronic point of sale), shelving, chillers and a freezer, to name but a few things.

Volunteers were recruited to form a Volunteer Rota. Finally, we could purchase stock and it was full steam ahead.

The run up to opening had taken two years and Hawkchurch Community Shop opened its doors 20 May 2014.

At first the shop was open on a morning only basis, to give time for training of volunteers and for the team to settle in. On the 8th June 2014, the shop was officially opened by Councillor Andrew Moulding and it moved to full time opening at the beginning of August 2014.

The Shop has now been trading for five years and has gone from strength to strength. 

After the first couple of years it became obvious that we were outgrowing our trusty portacabin. We needed a new home!

From 2014 Hawkchurch Community Shop was up and running and serving Hawkchurch and its visitors so successfully that after the first couple of years it became obvious that we were outgrowing our trusty portacabin. We needed a new home.

The Committee embarked upon putting a plan together that had a very long action plan list with all the thrills and ups and downs of a rollercoaster ride. More funding was needed, more shares were sold. The Business Plan had a major overhaul.

Mr. and Mrs. Cowling allowed us to stay on the same site, Norton Yard, in the centre of the village, a new lease was signed, and planning application obtained to replace the existing portacabin with a purpose-built timber cabin.

We were successful in winning just over £60,000 from the National Lottery’s Power to Change Community Business Fund. Other grants from Hawkchurch Parish Council, East Devon District Council and Devon County Council helped us to purchase and install solar panels.

The ground works were laid and on 17 October 2019 the new shop was delivered. The long list of infrastructure stages commenced. Over the weekend of Sunday 24 November we moved the few feet from our trusty portacabin to our new purpose built log cabin.

We are very proud to say that from when we first opened in May 2014 to opening in our new home on Tuesday 26 November 2019, the Shop has only been closed for trading for one day and that was so that we could finish the move and switch the electric supply.

The Shop can now expand and provide a much-needed service in a rural area that enables the community and its visitors to shop local, with the added bonus of reducing the carbon footprint. 

Hawkchurch Community Shop is in a sustainable position long into the future.

Thank you to all our Volunteers who have made this possible!