The Crown Inn brings essential local service back to Dorset village

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A Dorset pub re-opened its village shop this week with the support of Pub is The Hub’s Community Services Fund launched in April this year.

Puncknowle village has been without a shop since 2001 and the nearest shop is four miles away, so when licensees, Alex and Blanche Alexander moved into the Palmer’s-owned Crown Inn pub in January 2013 they were keen to support the village as much as they could and restore this vital service. After approaching Pub is The Hub for help and advice, they discovered that they were also able to apply for a grant to convert the storeroom from the organisation’s Community Services Fund. They have used the £2,867 grant pay for fridges, freezers, scales, CCTV and signage.

Serving Sunday newspapers, local produce and other essential and convenience items from an old store room at the back of the pub, the Crown Inn Village Shop will be open between 9am – 9pm from Monday to Saturday and 9am to 6pm on Sunday. The shop will sell locally made goods such as dairy produce, meats, fish, fruit and vegetables as well as home-made pies, cakes and chutneys.

Blanche said: “Since taking on the pub, we have tried to really become the heart and soul of the village. We adapt to suit residents and visitors alike and try to accommodate local groups as well as offering the usual pub fare of great food, drink and entertainment. The new shop is just an extension of our service.

“Our latest venture would not have been possible without the support and financial help from Pub is The Hub and their Community Services Fund.”

Reg Clarke, regional advisor for Pub is The Hub added: “Blanche and Alex have done a tremendous job with the Crown Inn. We were delighted to give them a modest grant to open the shop and will continue to offer them support and advice where we can.”

Pub is The Hub’s Community Services Fund was established with funding from the government and the drinks manufacturer Diageo PLC in April 2013 to help UK pubs to diversify into new services provision for their own communities. In launching the fund, Pub is The Hub recognised that good licensees today can work with the public, private and voluntary sector to improve the local economy.