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Our Objective

With all of the other feasible options for our community shop exhausted, when the Baptist chapel came onto the market in August 2022 it offered a one-off opportunity for premises. 


It offers the best solution of all the options considered over the last 5 years.

  • This locally listed building gets a new community purpose.

  • It offers spacious premises, very similar in size to Woodgreen community shop.

  • It is centrally located, provides scope for off - road parking and the 'Vestry'offers a flexible community space for shop events, workshops (IT, bike repairs) etc.

We aim to be trading in November 2023

Progress - At a glance

  • We completed on the chapel purchase 12th May 2023

  • We have raised £700,000 (96%) of the required £712,500.

  • 12 of our 15 grant applications have been successful, an exceptional success rate.

  • We have  all of the funds for the essential building works to create the shop in place (8th June 2023).

  • Demolition of the hall and installation of the car park has been completed by Keffen Plant Hire

  • Tuakana, our main contractor, is nearing completion of the repairs and alterations to the chapel, still some snagging.

  • Our initial suppliers and products have been chosen.

  • Staff and volunteers are recruited and being trained

  • Awaiting Post Office Contract and we have a target transfer date of 26th Feb 2023.

  • It is going to be a busy few weeks...


Our Chair Nick Thompson sadly passed away on Saturday 3rd February.  He was a kind, courageous and dignified gentleman with a great sense of humour.  Nick will be greatly missed as a friend, colleague and great supporter of “Chapel Stores”.  His one regret was not to see the shop though to completion, a measure of his commitment and contribution to our endeavours.

Our thoughts are with his wife Sarah and all their family.

Why this is needed

We planned to cover these costs from two specific funds:

  • Our application for £25,000 to the Princes Countryside Fund was shortlisted but it was unsuccessful as they prioritised projects in more deprived areas.

  • The Charles Burnett Memorial Fund supports local community projects. However, the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Community Fund, who administer their grants, do not accept applications from Community Benefit Societies.

We have cut costs wherever we can but issues encountered during building works at the 200-year-old chapel have absorbed our contingency budget and pushed our budget up from £715,000 to £718,450.

Despite extensive research, we have been unable to find any other funding sources for our chillers and shelving that would enable us to hold to our January opening date. The funding landscape is highly competitive at the moment and our applications to two other ‘back up’ funds (Aviva and Screwfix) were not successful.

Funding Status

Target = £712,500
Achieved = £700,000

Total includes Crowdfunding of £10,441. Fundraising is still ongoing and donations are very welcome - email. An interest free loan is a back up that would be repaid by an extended programme of fundraising.

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The 'Chapel Stores' Project


The chapel, built in 1844, sits on a 1/4 acre site. The modern 1990’s hall has been demolished to make space for off-road customer parking.. There are 480 unmarked graves onsite that our plans leave undisturbed.

We are carrying out an extensive programme of works to repair and renovate the chapel, fixing the rising damp, treating woodworm and removing asbestos from the premises.


The main chapel space will be fitted out and equipped as the retail area with the old vestry providing a social space for shop events, workshops and 'home working' . We'll also use this space for a permanent exhibition of the chapel's history and residents' memories of it in its former role.

The kitchen will provide a food prep area and its roof will be repaired. The hall will be demolished to make way for a car park that would provide off road parking and turning space.


We have been awarded a pack of 50 native trees and hedging plants through the 'I dig trees' programme that will improve the street scene and improve the site's biodiversity.


A solar system with battery storage will halve our electricity costs.

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Once Trading


While we are a not-for-profit organisation we need to ensure we are financially viable. If we grow the business we can keep our margins and, therefore, prices lower.

We will provide employment for 2 staff to cover the planned opening hours. They will be supported by a team of volunteers to share the workload and add to the friendly feel of the shop.

By keeping a shop and Post Office in the village, we reduce car journeys across the forest for convenience items, banking and postal services. The larger space will allow us to offer a broader range of goods and services with wide, accessible aisles.

Why It Matters

Our village shop and Post Office provides vital postal services, banking, bill payment, key top-ups as well as groceries. While a convenience for many it is particularly important for the 10% of households with no car given the village's very limited bus service.


During the early days of the pandemic it was the only village amenity that stayed open. As well as innovatively finding ways to keep the shelves stocked, it acted as a rallying point for the community and a hub for volunteers.

Over the years our village school, its two other shops, doctors surgery, youth clubs, a football club and a lunch club have closed leaving the shop as an important focal point in our community. 


Now the last shop and its Post Office is under threat of closure as the owner wants to retire from the long hours running the business entails.


Over the last 5 years and we have invested a huge amount of time and energy in pursuing various local options for a site for our shop. This has not been an easy task as our village borders restricted Crown grazing land and local house prices are high.

The chapel presented a last and one-off opportunity for our community shop premises. By running our viable community business within the chapel this locally listed building's continued community use is assured.

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