Hereford & Worcester

Yarpole residents toast decade of 'keeping village alive'

The shop
Image caption Residents said the shop was at the heart of the community

Residents in a Herefordshire village are celebrating running their post office and local shop for 10 years.

The community shop was set up in Yarpole after the local store closed. Originally it traded in the pub, then moved into St Leonard's Church.

Residents have also taken on the running of the village pub, The Bell, which they acquired last year.

Villager Rose Jenkins said volunteers were key to the success of keeping Yarpole alive.

"If we didn't have this cafe and shop in what is effectively a community centre, this village would be dead," said Ms Jenkins, who is also secretary to the church council at St Leonard's.

Image caption The cafe in the church enables residents to mingle
Image caption The shop moved into the church several years ago

"When the shop did close down, you didn't see people walking out in the streets. There was nowhere to go.

"This is a focal point where people come and mix and talk and more initiatives grow out of that."

The shop, run by volunteers, won the Countryside Alliance Village Shop and Post Office award in 2011.

After the shop proved popular, residents formed building management group who went on to organise the acquisition of The Bell.

Residents of Yarpole, which is about five miles from Leominster, wanted to mark the 10-year anniversary this weekend because it was "an amazing achievement" and to say thank you everyone involved, Ms Jenkins added.

"But we also want to look forward because the community spirit is carrying on," she said.

A special service was held in the church on Sunday followed by lunch at The Bell.

An exhibition showing the timeline of the rural regeneration project is also on display in St Leonard's.

Image caption The village volunteers came together again last year to take on the running of the local pub

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