A VILLAGE shop which was saved from closure when the local community stepped in is in the running to win a national award.

The Yarpole community rallied to save its village shop when it closed in 2004 and, following a successful community scheme, the shop now thrives in its current home in St Leonard's Church.

And it has now been shortlisted for an award from the Plunkett Foundation – which helps rural communities across the UK looking to take control of the issues affecting them.

Julian Stokes, chairman of Yarpole Community Shop, said: “To be recognised in a national competition is a great honour for us and reflects the hard work by everyone involved with the shop. A big thank you to our volunteers, staff and of course our customers.”

The Plunkett Foundation has shortlisted the shop for its Rural Community Ownership Award.

It is designed to recognise the best examples in the sector.

Other finalists in the category are community shops in Devon and Gloucestershire.

James Alcock, Head of Frontline at Plunkett, said: “Building on the success of the Plunkett Community Shops Awards, we have been really pleased with the response we have had to this the first ever Plunkett Rural Community Ownership Awards. It’s great to see a co-operative pub and a café on the shortlist, as well as community-owned village shops.”

He continued: “The awards celebrate all that what makes community-owned enterprises great – their co-operative ethos, their community engagement and their approach to overcoming the problems they face together. We would like to thank all the enterprises who applied and our thanks too to our sponsors.”

The awards were launched in April 2014 and aim to commend the committed teams of people who come together to deliver vital services to their community.

Awards can go to a range of groups including a community land trust or wood, community shop or bookshop, café or co-operative pub, commodities and services that are becoming increasingly more important.

The Awards will be announced on July 1 at Plunkett’s community-owned Enterprise Event and AGM.