KIND-HEARTED volunteers and local producers helped a picturesque village through the first Coronavirus lockdown.
As the cold weather and dark nights descend – and tighter safety restrictions return – the team at Cilcain Community Shop hope residents continue to support the venture.
Treasurer Sarah Parr explained how everyone from school pupils to retirees came together to serve customers, prepare deliveries, and take orders from elderly and vulnerable householders when the pandemic took hold in March.
“During the first lockdown we were incredibly busy as there were a lot of people relying on us; there are quite a number of vulnerable and elderly in the village and we all look out for each other,” she said.
“The shop is open seven days a week, but the hours have been reduced and the delivery services continued throughout the summer.
“I’m sure they will be needed again in the months ahead as the nights grow darker and winter approaches, especially as we have seen more people going back into self-isolation and new travel restrictions.”
The store does have two permanent members of staff who coordinate the deliveries and orders, while volunteers carry out day to day tasks and serve the public from 8am until 1pm.
The post office provision has reopened, and there is a wider selection of food on sale to cope with increased demand.
“We use local produce to support those businesses, and the customers have stuck with them because they love the quality,” added Sarah.
“During lockdown we expanded our range quite radically because there were so many orders. We have bread from Henllan Bakery, Bellis Brothers Farm Shop in Buckley provided milk, Jones the Butcher in Denbigh all of our meat, and eggs were supplied by Ffrith Farm, based on Moel Famau.”
With more than 200 members, the shop has been pivotal in supporting families in Cilcain, and Sarah is confident they will not forget the service provided in the future.
“We experienced a big rise in custom during the Spring and even when restrictions were eased in the summer the sales were higher than in previous years,” said Sarah.
“As well as local trade we get a lot of walkers and cyclists passing through, which has been hit by travel restrictions, and we were forced to close the café, but given we now have a larger space in the village hall, thanks to our Village Hall Management Committee, people can come here and social distance quite easily while they shop.
“The team is amazing; we are so lucky to have a community like this who – when things became challenging – stepped up to help their neighbours.
“Everyone rallied around and supported one another when they needed it most, and the villagers won’t forget that.”
The second annual Taste North East Wales is taking place online this year after organisers Clwydian Range Food and Drink and Llangollen and Dee Valley Food and Drink, with the support of Cadwyn Clwyd, the Clwydian Range and Dee Valley AONB and the local authorities of Flintshire, Wrexham and Denbighshire, decided to host a virtual celebration to ensure the health and safety of participants.
This project has received funding through the Welsh Government Rural Communities – Rural Development Programme 2014-2020, which is funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the Welsh Government.