The Kingsley Centre hosted a fun day when staff and users celebrated the official opening of the villages shop – and more than 200 people turned out to see Phil Ponsonby, chief operating officer of the Southern Co-operative, cut a blue ribbon across the entrance. Southern Co-op is working in partnership with the Kingsley Centre to run the shop, which has provided jobs for several local residents.
After cutting the ribbon, Mr Ponsonby said how rewarding it was to be working with the Kingsley Centre and how the shop would benefit the village. Certainly the shop is a much welcome facility for Kingsley, and it’s no wonder that villagers came along to celebrate its opening on Saturday 6th November. Also on offer for the entertainment of the visitors was a barbecue, tombola, a lucky dip and traditional games. There was also tea and homemade cakes.
The Alton Morris Men performed their traditional dances, with bells jingling, and there was also a contest in which villagers were invited to guess the weight of the Shire horse.
The shop and post office were closed for a few days last month for a complete refit of the premises to be done ready to be re-opened for business on October 26th. Hampshire County Council and Southern Co-operative have given a joint cheque for £20,000 from the Village Community Grant Scheme towards their work.
The shop sells a wonderful range of good from freshly baked bread and pastries to Fairtrade produce and daily papers. There is also a small selection of wines. Temporary manager Sharon Hibberd said: “Business is brisk and we are getting good support from the village. My staff are people from Kingsley as well as some from outside the village.” The shop is open from 7.30am to 7pm Monday to Saturday, and from 8am to 6pm on Sunday.