A shop and café so good it's been praised by The King

By Jamie Hill - 12 February 2024

  • Volunteer Sue Roberts

    Volunteer Sue Roberts

The Blunsdon Community Shop and Café was honoured last week when it was presented The King's Award for Voluntary Service by Lord Lieutenant of Wiltshire, Sarah Rose Troughton.

Lord Lieutenant of Wiltshire Sarah Rose Troughton presenting the King's Award to Maggie Banda, Chair, Blunsdon Community Shop

The award was presented to the Chair of the community shop, Maggie Banda in front of a packed crowd of volunteers, paid staff, students, customers and community groups who use the space.

The King's Award is the highest award a local voluntary group can receive in the UK and is equivalent to an MBE.

The shop and café, run by about 40 volunteers, is one of 262 local charities, social enterprises and voluntary groups to receive the award this year. Two volunteers will be attending a special Buckingham Palace Garden Party later this year.

Volunteer Sue Roberts said: "It's so lovely that all the good work of all the volunteers has been recognised. It means the world to all of us."

The community shop and café used to be based in a portakabin until last year's opening of the new venue, which was given to the community by housing developers Hayfield Homes last year.

The portakabin is now being used as another village shop in a pub car park in Whitley near Melksham.

Vice Chair of the shop Jan Milsom said: "We were gobsmacked when it was announced that we would be receiving The King's Award.

"It is testament to all the hard work everyone has put in to make this shop and café so special.

"We pride ourselves on being the hub of the community and we are proud of all the school pupils and different groups we get in here using the shop.

"We really are a mirror of our local community and it is lovely that we have been rewarded with this honour."

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