Wellington community hub celebrates opening

First published in News

VILLAGERS in Wellington that created a community hub after its shop closed came together last Friday to celebrate its opening.

Around 100 people joined in the occasion, with the ribbon being cut by four-year-old Lizzie McMillen.

Lizzie is the daughter of Ed McMillen, the minister of Wellington Chapel.

The purposed designed building houses Wellington Delights Shop and Post Office, a parish room and a community-run library.

The previous shop and post office was closed in 2009 after a previous owner claimed that it was not making a profit.

A community group called Shop in Wellington Action Group (SWAG) was set up to decorate and equip a redundant building in a farmyard to ensure the shop could remain open.

The new premises at Stocks Farm Barn has been run by Rob Ruck for the past three years.

The building has been financed by a combination of a loan from the Public Works Loan Board, which is being repaid over 20 years by parishioners via their precepts.

Grant funding has also come from the Veolia Environmental Trust and the Big Lottery's Awards for All scheme.

The income from the shop rental will be used to offset the loan repayments.

"We think that this venture is unique in Herefordshire, with the shop being run a s a commercial business," said Councillor David Wood from Wellington Parish Council.

"There are examples of councils buying pubs and villages with community-run shops, but this combination is different and shows what can be done by a parish council who has the foresight and belief in a project to be able to see it through.

"It has not always been an easy journey`, but through tenacity and determination, we now have a facility of which Wellington can be justly proud."

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