Running on community power

A blog post by Glenn Sharpe

Glenn Sharpe
Finance Manager

Posted 18/04/2020

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Switching to a different way of life can be frightening, especially when it is not through choice.  But the Coronavirus lockdown has opened the eyes and hearts of people across Scotland as they experience the benefits of the stay local, shop local mantra.  Not only are customers supporting local businesses, farmers and reducing food miles and carbon emissions but they are also benefitting from reconnecting with their communities. 

By day Glenn Sharpe is our Finance Manager here at Keep Scotland Beautiful but by (night) evening and weekend he is part of a fabulous team in Dunshalt, Fife which has been working over the past few years to raise funds, purchase, refurbish and reopen their corner grocery store.

The new Community Benefit Society ‘Dunshalt Community Shop’ opened officially for business on the 9 March, just before Coronavirus hit the country.  The opening of the community shop could not have come at a more opportune time for the villagers of Dunshalt and the surrounding rural community.


Glenn said, “As with many other members of the community owned shop network we are lending support to the community as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak and are experiencing a significant increase in demand for our services.  Like many other small communities we are finding our staff and volunteers are keen to help the community at this very difficult time.

“Our fabulous team at Dunshalt Community Shop is now providing a lifeline to the vulnerable and elderly.   Unfortunately, we have had to close our café, but instead we are offering a home delivery service for those self-isolating in our community.

“When we opened for business on 9 March the first two weeks were phenomenal with high footfall and great feedback from a very happy community. Unfortunately, within days we were facing the COVID-19 crisis.  This saw us first have to close the cafe, then the takeaway and then, from 24 March the shop.  But, we immediately moved to a vital home-delivery groceries service to keep the business going while still protecting our staff.


“At the end of week one of lockdown our staff and a team of volunteers were fulfilling 40 to 60 deliveries per day – everything from eats and treats to basic essentials like veg, meat, eggs, milk and bread, all sourced from local farms and suppliers.  In addition to an army of wonderful volunteers we are in the process of recruiting two additional paid shop assistants on a short-term contracts to give us another 20 hours per week to support this demand.

“But, our work hasn’t stopped there, our customers have been showing quiet acts of kindness donating to cover the cost of fuel for the volunteer delivery drivers and have been donating their £10 vouchers (A bequest for over 60s in the village) to people in need and the shop is now progressing to make up food boxes for a Foodbank.

“The words of one customer “Brilliant service in this unprecedented time. So great to have our shopping delivered. Keep up the amazing work.” Reminds me of how much the Community Shop means to local people, and how lucky we were to be ready to help.”

This is a community shop which rose to the 'Coronavirus Community Challenge' just one week after opening!

Find Dunshalt Community Shop on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/DunshaltShop/.

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