VILLAGERS have celebrated the opening of a shop they say will be vital to their community.

The Llandegla Community Shop officially opened at the weekend, replacing the village post office which closed last summer, leaving residents with nothing in its place.

After a public meeting a need for a shop in the village was expressed so a working group was set up and a community benefits scheme was established last December.

With the help of hard-working volunteers the old school building in the heart of the village has been renovated to provide a shop and café.

It is hoped the new shop will become a hub for the village, run by volunteers, restoring an essential service to the community and providing access to postal and banking services, groceries as well as a meeting place.

Volunteer Sarah Chapman said: “In August last year the shop in the village closed unfortunately due to the ill health of the people running it.

Video and pictures by Rick Matthews / NWN Media

“We were going to be without a shop so the community got together and called an open meeting to discuss what to do.

“At the end of the meeting we were given a mandate to set up a working party and start planning to open our own community shop. After a lot of very hard work, all volunteer led, here we are nine months later.”

Ms Chapman estimated that about 2,500 volunteer hours had gone in to getting the shop up and running. She added that now everything was complete, the hard work was well worth it.

“It’s located in the old school building which has had a quite a bit of renovation and repainting, and the community has pulled together to support the venture”, she said.

“We’ve slightly upgraded what is for sale, and we are supplying a good range of local produce, as well as a cafe.

“In addition to that there we will have artisan crafts on display in the shop front and we will sell them for local artists.

“It is going to be a real rural community hub, and as it is situated directly on the Offa’s Dyke footpath, hopefully we will benefit in trade from the wider community too.

“I feel it has shown how people can really work together to achieve something.”