Store at the heart of village is a huge hit

Paula Orton, Sarayou George and Linda Begley are part of the 40-strong team behind the revival of the village shop
Paula Orton, Sarayou George and Linda Begley are part of the 40-strong team behind the revival of the village shop

A village store which has firmly established itself at the heart of its community is celebrating six months in business.

The Cottingham and Middleton Village Store and Cafe opened last September and has proved hugely popular with residents young and old.

Set up as a co-operative and run mainly by volunteers, the store does a roaring trade in hot food, cakes and drinks, and has a popular upstairs area for youngsters with internet access, a pool table and a Playstation 3.

The site of the former Post Office had been empty for several years before a 40-strong team revived it.

Store manager Linda Begley said: “It is still early days but we are getting quite a lot of footfall. It has taken a little while for people to get to know we are here, but it has taken off better than we ever could have imagined.

“We are starting to bring in different things, like the home workers’ lunch on Wednesdays, for people to get together and share ideas. That is going very well.

“There are four paid members of staff, but the majority are our wonderful volunteers – we could not run without them. It is amazing that so many people have offered their time.”

Cottingham residents John and Dorothy Anderson are regulars at the shop.

Mr Anderson, best known as the referee from TV show Gladiators, said: “It has been an amazing asset to the village. A lot of people are meeting people they wouldn’t normally meet.

“It is a very convivial atmosphere and people are very sociable. We’ve lived here for 11 years and we would not be anywhere else. This is just the icing on the cake.”

Mrs Anderson, who volunteers at the shop and bakes cakes for sale, said: “It has been wonderful for the village. It’s not hard work and it has a lovely atmosphere.”

THE VILLAGE STORE AND CAFE