Cornwall community shop receives prestigious Queen's Award for Voluntary Service

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A community shop in Bodmin has been honored with a top award for its contribution to the local community.

The St Tudy Community Shop has received the Queen's Award for Voluntary Service - the highest award a voluntary group can receive in the UK.

The award, created to celebrate the Queen's Golden Jubilee in 2002, showcases the exceptional work carried out by volunteers across the country and is equivalent to an MBE.

Winners of the sought-after accolade are announced every year on 2 June, the anniversary of the Queen's Coronation.

As well as groceries, the shop houses a cafe and library.

Of all of the 230 charities and voluntary groups receiving the honor this year, the team from St Tudy represent the only shop to be awarded.

Representatives of the shop will receive the award later this summer from Colonel Edward Bolitho OBE, Lord Lieutenant of Cornwall, representing The Queen.

Two lucky volunteers will also be invited to join other winners at a Buckingham Palace garden party in May next year.

The St Tudy Community Shop is a hub of resource for people in the local area - providing everything from groceries to a coffee shop, as well as a post office and a book-swap library service.

The shop usually has a staff rotation of around 60 volunteers.

Outside of the retails, the shop also provides a place where local residents can come together to socialise - a vital lifeline for more isolated members of the community.

Volunteers extend their support for those vulnerable local residents by offering a 'befriending service' - which involves calling in on those who are disabled, lonely, those caring for sick relatives as well as the recently bereaved to combat loneliness.

The shop also provides a vital place where local residents can come together to socialise.

The shop also offers a place to advance social mobility, with work experience available for adults with additional needs as well as local teenagers.

The shop has won awards for its community service in the past.

The prestigious award is not the first time the hub has been recognised for its service.

Led by a village committee, staffed by some 60 volunteers and managed by two paid part time staff the shop was crowned the winner of the South West of England Award as part of the Rural Community Ownership Awards 2016.

This was run by the Plunkett Foundation, the national charity supporting people to set up and run community co-operatives.

The shops says the pandemic has led to a drastic loss in volunteer numbers due to age and health constraints, putting extra pressure on the staff that can go in.

However, the volunteers have readily adapted to the changes to ensure a service can still be provided to the community during this tough time.

We greatly appreciate all the new volunteers who have come forward to help with the picking, packing and delivery of orders for people in self-isolation or who are vulnerable and can no longer visit the shop in person.

Bob King, vice chairman STCS committee

St Tudy Community Shop and Post Office has been trading since 2011 after the only existing retail outlet in the village closed as it was no longer a viable independent business.

The current new building opened in 2012, with an extension to include a café and hub in 2017.

Throughout it has been financed by grants, match-funding, a community share offer, donations and fundraising.