Community-run village shop in Yorkshire has its windows smashed by pathetic vandals

Volunteers who run a community shop and deliver food parcels to the vulnerable have been left shocked after their premises were vandalised.

Volunteers pictured outside Church Fenton Community Shop

Church Fenton Community Shop near Tadcaster was targeted by the youths on Sunday night and five of its windows were smashed. The shop has CCTV but the offenders covered their faces with scarves.

The volunteers have been busy delivering fruit, vegetables, bread, milk and other produce from local suppliers to people living in Church Fenton and surrounding villages during the coronavirus lockdown.

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They tweeted:-

Some of the damage to the shop's windows

"When the local feral scum decide that having something lovely like a community chop isn’t quite their thing. 9:30pm this evening they smashed our windows when they should’ve been at home! Useless, feckless parenting in action."

"There are no words to describe how we feel at the moment."

A vital community asset

Back in 2017, Church Fenton faced losing its only community shop and post office when previous owners Geoff and Jean Mason retired after running the business for over 40 years. No buyer could be found. A crisis meeting was called by the parish council and a group of villagers agreed to take matters into their own hands.

The Masons were persuaded to retain ownership of the building and rent it to the volunteers while they tried to raise the £350,000 needed to buy it. The shop re-opened just four weeks after its closure, staffed entirely by unpaid helpers.

The residents then became aware of a government scheme to help communities buy local assets, and the parish council took out a loan on the shop committee's behalf. A mortgage was secured from the Public Works Loan Board and the shop is now owned entirely by the village itself.

It's since won a Countryside Alliance award and has brought the village together. Stewart and Jane Hardman-Ferris moved to Church Fenton over 15 years ago and are now both on the shop's management committee.

“It has involved a lot of hard work and it’s been a bit bumpy but it’s all been worth it," said Jane.

“Over these last 10 months we have got to know more people in the village than we had in the rest of the previous 15 years. I wasn’t born here but we have clubbed together with people who have and it’s made one hell of a community. It’s always been a beautiful place to be but even more so now.”

Before the coronavirus crisis, the shop was open seven days a week and stocks meat from local butchers Starkeys of Sherburn-in-Elmet and bread from Crusties bakery, which is also in Sherburn. A local wholesaler supplies fruit and veg and village beekeepers provide honey.

They have now switched primarily to home delivery services.