The Ferry Inn is located on the banks of the River Bure, situated in the small village of Stokesby on the Norfolk Broads, with a population of just 330, and lacking any amenities other than the pub. Stokesby is a quiet village approximately 9 miles from Great Yarmouth and 13 miles from Norwich.
Licensee Alison Brewster took over the tenancy of this Adnams’ pub 5 years ago, and since then, along with family members, she has created an outstanding traditional Broadlands pub that caters for both the villagers and the boating fraternity.
Since the closure of the village shop, the community has had nowhere within walking distance that they can buy essential supplies and, with limited public transport routes available in the village, it is a 6 mile roundtrip to the nearest shops. There is also nowhere in the area for those holidaying on the Broads to buy provisions.
Alison was very keen to address this situation and having given out a questionnaire to all the residents and boating people she received overwhelmingly positive feedback that a shop would be a great help and asset to the community and for those holidaying on the river. The concept of a community village shop would also help vulnerable residents who may otherwise not see anyone from the community all day. Having had this encouraging feedback, Alison contacted Pub is The Hub and after talking with the adviser, she decided to convert the unused poolroom into a shop.
The conversation of the poolroom was completed during the spring of 2020 in the midst of the Covid pandemic so adjustments were made to comply with hygiene and social distancing rules.On opening the shop for the first time in May, there was a one-in one-out policy and perspex around the counters to keep both customers and staff safe, with waiting customers keeping social distancing.
However, in spite of these restrictions the shop has proved a great success. It is ideally placed adjacent to the main entrance giving easy access to the elderly and infirm and providing a much needed and very welcome amenity, which is supported by all the villagers and the wider community.
The shop will be an important stopping off point for the people on the boats once they return, so that they can stock-up with provisions for their onward river trips. Residents are now walking to the shop providing an environmental saving with less car use along with a healthier lifestyle and a more sociable alternative to driving to the town shops.
The shop supplies all essential items plus homemade cakes, and locally sourced food thereby helping to promote the local economy and making The Ferry inn Shop the hub of the community.
LESSONS TO LEARN
- A licensee must have vision and determination to provide a village shop
- Local residents and those without cars can access services more easily
- Enhancing the cohesion and the sustainability of this rural community
Read the news story about the shop’s opening here.
|Community Services Fund grant from Pub is The Hub||£3,000|
|Total Project Costs||£6,677|