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Collyweston Community Shop

Award winning Collyweston Community Shop is run by retired estate agent Sandra Johnson and her fellow volunteers. This delightful grant funded establishment has been running for seven years and is situated in peaceful Collyweston, Lincolnshire.

Collyweston Community Shop stocks a variety of items alongside standard produce, ranging from pressed cordials and homemade bread to freshly picked vegetables and delicious impulse snacks.

The layout of this shop is well thought out. Fresh produce and snacks are located at the front of the store and less popular items are round to the back of the store. Collyweston caters for the affluent locals who take joy in purchasing own brands and yummy favourites and passing trade who are in need of a grab and go snack.

Sandra has background knowledge and understands the necessity of a village shop. Home delivery is offered by Sandra and her team, whenever the locals are in need. This is a free service and shows that all staff take the obligations of a village store as a service more seriously.
Collyweston Community Shop is very community-focused and thrives on bringing people together. Sandra encourages her team to stand by this ethos and shows care to all who walk through the door, knowing all of her regulars by name. As soon as new residents enter Collyweston, they are welcomed into the village with a £5 voucher to encourage them to pop in to the shop and say hello.

Sandra invests her time in giving the elderly social opportunities with door to door visits and delivers fresh produce to her community when they cannot get to the larger shops outside of the village.

"It’s not just about people coming in and buying their items. There is one lady who volunteers, who lives on her own, doesn’t really have a social life and if she didn’t come here to work, she wouldn’t see anyone. One gentleman spends 50p on a paper and likes to stand and chat for half an hour because he lives on his own. We have a purpose and that is getting the community back together which is the most important aspect of the shop. Yes, it is nice promoting local food, and it is easy for people to come to this shop rather than travel far, but the main focus is putting the heart back into the village.” – Sandra Joh
There are many events held in the village throughout the year, and Collyweston Community shop takes pride in sponsoring and donating to organisations and good causes.

The shop’s most recent donation was a contribution to the funding for a defibrillator, which is located outside the shop, with more ideas in the pipeline to better their village.

A range of services are also offered, including mobile top-ups, bill payment facilities, dry cleaning and shoe repairs. Sandra also understands the benefit of social media and likes to keep her shoppers up to date on Twitter and Facebook.

Sandra employs 21 volunteers and offers one to one training to all her staff. The volunteers are mainly retired villagers or students who need a part time job.

Sandra ensures that all her staff feel confident in their positions, whether it be delivering products, stocking up or serving customers. For some, helping out at the community shop gives them a sense of meaning and belonging.

As all staff are volunteers, Sandra is less affected by wage increases and focuses more on the shop’s profit flowing straight back into the community.

When asked about future plans, Sandra explained how they would like to have a post office added, if their premises were big enough and perhaps a few minor changes. For now Sandra likes to keep going as they are providing a service and bringing friendship, unity and care into the community she calls home.

We would like to thank Sandra for her hospitality on our visit to the beautiful village of Collyweston and what a delight it was to experience a true sense of community through her village shop.

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