VILLAGERS are rejoicing after a volunteer-led convenience store has opened.

The Village Shop on St James’ Street, Castle Hedingham is a small store run and funded entirely by the community.

The not-for-profit store offers customers a wide range of items, ranging from newspapers and household products to fresh groceries and even some pharmacy items.

The project is led by the Braintree District Foundation Community Interest Company which helps to manage community run businesses.

The store is now open seven days a week and is staffed entirely by volunteers who all help out in four hour shifts.

It is also hoped residents and shoppers will get involved by donating fresh produce to the store or making business donations. Any profit made by the shop will go directly towards community projects benefitting Castle Hedingham.

Shop founder Jo Beavis, who successfully set up a similar village store in Gosfield back in 2013, said: “The Castle Hedingham Village Shop presents a real opportunity to put a vital service in one of the most rural areas of the Braintree district.

“The village is massively excited about the new shop.

“The feedback has been tremendous from a village that just wants a good village shop that provides them with everyday essentials and newspapers.

“It means the residents of Castle Hedingham no longer have to drive to Sible Hedingham for the convenience items.

“The overriding message was ‘we couldn’t wait for you to open’.

“It’s a pretty amazing feeling to stimulate the village in this way and I’m utterly proud.”