The shop and cafe inside a church celebrating its one year anniversary

Holy Trinity at Amberley is host to a community shop and cafe in the village
-Credit: (Image: Will Luker)

"Success" is the word volunteer Deb Herbert uses to describe the importance of the community shop in her Gloucestershire village. "A lot of hard work and a sense of place", she adds, marking one year since the establishment of a shop and cafe in Amberley.

Amberley, near Stroud, boasts stunning views over the Nailsworth valley and numerous walking trails across the nearby Minchinhampton Common. Nestled within the Cotswolds' beauty, this village has much to offer, including an annual cow hunt (like a scarecrow trail), a couple of pubs, and the shop itself.

What sets Amberley Shop and Cafe apart is its location within Holy Trinity Church, which remains active to this day. As a community benefit society, it truly is unique.

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Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby came to visit the community recently
Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby came to visit the community recently -Credit:Amberley Shop and Cafe

The idea first came to light when Neil and Alison Truphet brought the community together after the village lost a previous store. A first year anniversary since the opening will see a BBQ, cream teams, supplier tastings, a plant sale, a quiz and so much for the family this weekend - a great way to celebrate an achievement.

During its first year 26,000 customers have been served including locals and visitors, 12,000 coffees made and 7,000 cakes baked - these are the important facts and figures the shop and cafe are proud to champion. Run by a team of nearly 90 volunteers alongside a paid manager and barista, lots of produce from nearby is sold in the shop and work experience is provided to students at the National Star College too.

Everyday essentials are stocked and as Helen Demuth, Chair of the Management team says, "community spirit" is the important element the shop has added to the village. “Our shop and café represents everything that makes Amberley so special, Helen said. You can’t help but feel the sense of community spirit, with so much commitment to making the shop and café a beautiful place to visit whether it is just to pick up a loaf or a pint, or meet neighbours and friends, and have lunch under the stunning stained-glass windows.”

Kath Morrison, Deb Herbert and Steve Wood volunteering at Amberley Shop and Cafe
Kath Morrison, Deb Herbert and Steve Wood volunteering at Amberley Shop and Cafe -Credit:Will Luker

Community-owned, the shop and cafe recently welcomed a special visitor to the village - the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby. Seeing how an active church accommodates a shop and cafe, Mr Welby addressed volunteers and the congregation as well as naming a gallery meeting space above the shop after Reverend John Spiers, who was instrumental in helping to make the shop and cafe today a reality.

“Churches were not built to be used for two hours a week but to be at the centre of the community like here, Mr Welby said at the time. This one invites people into the space and has a lovely design and atmosphere. It is the most incredible achievement here. I regret that I wasn’t as imaginative as you have been here in Amberley.”