A COMMUNITY-owned shop that has been running for just nine months has picked up a major regional award.

Chalke Valley Stores, which is inside Broadchalke United Reformed Church, has been named joint champion by the Countryside Alliance Rural Oscars.

The shop, which is run by 60 volunteers led by a manager and a committee, was praised by judges for its welcoming atmosphere, range of services and dedication to local produce.

Competition judge Alison Hawes said: “This is an exceptional enterprise that shows what can be done for the good of the whole community.”

Representatives from the shop will travel to the House of Lords on April 30 to see if it has won one of the Countryside Alliance’s national awards.

The shop is part of a community hub that includes a café, Post Office, police post, meeting room and information centre. It was created when local people raised £200,000 following the closure of the previous village shop.

Ashley Truluck, chairman of the shop’s management committee, said: “We are tickled pink that the volunteers have received the recognition that they deserve.

“The business has exceeded the business case by a country mile.

“The whole Chalke Valley has been brought together by the project and we are able to offer useful work experience to youngsters.”