Coddenham Community Shop

Star Travel Rating

4/5

Review type

Things to do

Location

Coddenham Community Shop

Date of travel

March, 2020

Product name

Product country

Product city

Travelled with

Wife

Reasons for trip

Six years ago I wrote about the woodland walk and the gossip-centre of a shop that convinced us to live here. Everything that has happened since confirms that decision. Even coronavirus has that positive aspect.

2019 was a momentous year in the community. A committee was formed to take over responsibility for the Community Hall and sports facilities from the Parish Council. Just as that transaction was developing the village shop lease expired and the two managers decided not to continue. So another committee was formed to raise funds and recruit volunteers for a community shop.

Who says committees don’t get things done? Both projects were successfully launched and were enjoying great success until coronavirus. Since then the hall has had to close, fortunately after a very successful Greek-themed evening to follow an also successful folk dance. The shop too has lost many of us elder states-people who could not risk public contact and has had to resort to supplying telephone orders for collection or delivery. At least on this local scale it is doing better than the big supermarkets.

The recreation ground can be used for walks but not for football, and the local team will have learned that its league has been abandoned with results nullified. Tennis and other games inside or out are stopped.

The school bus still comes through because it is a scheduled service but there will be few passengers. Other traffic is mercifully much reduced because of the restrictions on work. Near silence along what was a rat run allows us to experience country life as the old poster in the shop cafe shows it once was, with people stopping in the High Street –
at a safe distance – for a chat.

The snowdrops have bloomed and finished but the celandines are out and bluebells are beginning to show. Birdsong is easier on the ear than vehicle exhausts and the children next door can enjoy their roadside front garden while sunshine falls on that side of the cottage.

The Community Response Group to deal with COVID-19 has sent a newsletter to every property. This details the work its volunteers – many from the shop and community committees – have undertaken to ensure the safety and well-being of everyone. All local organisations, from Parish Council and church to voluntary groups and clubs, are represented and members have undertaken to disseminate information to us all.

There is no doubt we will weather this outbreak and be an even stronger community in future. I am not suggesting Coddenham is unique. Villages, boroughs and other kinds of community in towns and cities will be doing much the same. We can only know our own place, though, especially since we can’t travel. Silver Stay-at-Homes have my best wishes and an invitation to experience our community once the “war” is over. I’m sure others will be glad to reciprocate in those days.

John.Pelling

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