A COMMUNITY shop named as the best in its region is now waiting to see if it can bag the national prize.

The Village Shop in Feckenham, which is community-owned, was chosen as the best village shop or post office in the West Midlands in the Countryside Alliance Awards.

Staff and volunteers from the shop have been invited to the Houses of Parliament on Wednesday, when the national winner will be announced.

The shop is one of about 230 community-owned rural shops in the UK, 38 of which opened last year.

The community received support from the Plunkett Foundation’s Village CORE programme to set up the shop. This provides financial support and advice to rural communities that want to set up and run their own shops. Since it started four years ago, it has helped 48 community-owned shops to get up and running, and aims to take that total to 100 in the next three years.

In addition to financial support and retail advice, the shops receive support from Making Local Food Work, an initiative managed by the Plunkett Foundation and funded by the Big Lottery Fund to create better links between village shops and local producers.

The shops the Plunkett Foundation works with come in a variety of shapes and sizes, some based in purpose-built premises and others in old shops, village halls, mobile cabins, churches and pubs.

The only requirement is that they reflect the needs of the communities they serve.

For more information about the Plunkett Foundation, visit plunkett.co.uk.