WOODGREEN’S village shop has been chosen as a finalist for the Countryside Alliance Awards.

The community shop is one of 12 southern regional finalists chosen from thousands of businesses vying for one of four regional titles and the chance of UK-wide acclaim.

The Countryside Alliance Awards, which are now in their fifth year, celebrate the characters, skills, traditions and enterprise of the countryside.

Andrea Finn from Woodgreen Community Shop said: “We are delighted that it is yet another affirmation of what we have been doing and support of all our hard work.”

Residents from Woodgreen and surrounding districts rallied to buy shares and donate cash in 2006 so that the shop and post office could be purchased and run on a community basis.

Now the New Forest National Park Authority has given the community-based post office and shop the green light for a new build on a field at Hale Road, owned by the parish council.

And not only will the timber and red brick construction boast twice the retail space but also house a bread oven for the daily baking of fresh bread, croissants and pastries.

Work is due to start on the new building, which will include delivery area, retail shop and stock room, staff room/office and dry cleaning area and toilet, at the end of 2010.

Countryside Alliance southern regional director Sara Rutherford said: “These finalists represent the very best of the region and I know that judging winners in each category is going to be very tough.

“The awards are a unique opportunity to celebrate not just the hard work that goes into businesses in the countryside, but also the heart and character of every individual who contributes to rural enterprise.”

Regional judging will now take place and the regional winners will be announced before Christmas. They will then go forward to the national final and National winners will be announced at Parliament on February 3.