FIFTEEN years after Iffley’s village shop announced plans to close, its successor is still going strong thanks to the commitment of a dedicated band of volunteers.
In the summer of 1999, plans were under way for local people to take over the running of the shop and post office after villagers feared they would lose a valuable community meeting place when it closed.
Sue Reynolds was one of the original band of volunteers who set up the shop that autumn.
She continues to manage the committee which runs it today as it reaches its anniversary. She said it remained vital to the village’s tight community.
She said: “We have quite a few elderly people in the village and it’s a place for them go to and see other people and get out of the house.
“We’ve had a few ups and downs,but we’re still here and I think the future is bright for us.
“We have 35 volunteers and they all put in a lot of work for the shop and for Iffley.”
The shop now runs its own postal service following the closure of the Post Office a number of years ago.
Customers can leave their letters and parcels in the shop and they are then collected later by Royal Mail and delivered as normal.
Mike Sinclair, 62, is a recent recruit to the team at the shop. He joined last year after a career as a consultant anaesthetist at the John Radcliffe Hospital.
He said: “You meet a lot of local people. Before, when I lived in north Oxfordshire, we didn’t know anyone apart from our neighbours, but now I know practically everybody here. It’s a great way to get to know people and it’s a great way to pass the time now I’m retired.
“I moved here in September 2011 and started going to the shop and then I thought I should start helping out as well. It’s been great fun.”
The shop continues to turn a small profit, which is enough to pay for repairs when equipment breaks down.
But Mrs Reynolds said her aim was to make no money at all after emergencies were taken into account.
She said: “We’re here to serve the community, not to turn a profit. If we make much more than no pounds in a year then we’re not doing it right.”