Plunkett members Dalwood Community Shop in Devon will celebrate their 15th birthday on Friday 16 September with a local food festival for the whole community.

When the sub post office in Dalwood closed in 1999 it was decided that locals would try to set up a new shop and post office with widespread support from the village. After East Devon Council agreed to rent the committee one garage in a block of three, work began to rebuild and extend it which was completed by local builders and volunteers.

In December 2001 the shop opened, followed by the Post Office the following January. It is entirely manned by a total of 45 volunteers and since then has gone from strength to strength.

Shelagh Beak, Secretary of the Dalwood Community Shop, said: “The shop is open 363 days a year and we’re really proud of the continued support of our volunteers – in 13 years the shop has only closed once, and this was due to a power cut. Volunteering in the shop is a really good way for newcomers to the village to make friends and learn about the village.”

Dalwood is one of 343 community owned shops across the whole of the UK, and 31 in Devon. They are an effective mechanism for safeguarding essential retail outlets in rural areas, but they have wider social, economic and environmental benefits.

Harriet English, Membership Manager at Plunkett, said: “We’re delighted that Dalwood is celebrating its 15th birthday today, we wish everyone involved in continuing to make this such a fantastic community shop congratulations.

“Community shops like Dalwood become the hub of their community; they’re often the only retail outlet within easy traveling distance for local people, they usually have long opening hours and they host a range of other services like cafes and post offices.”