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'Lifesaver' community shop launches appeal to surive

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A fundraiser has been launched for a community shop which has had to temporarily close due to the coronavirus.

Fairstead Community Shop is a not-for-profit organisation overseen by Emma Brock and four others, which has been described as a “lifesaver” for residents.

Due to the coronavirus, Mrs Brock has had to close the shop so she cannot raise funds to keep it going.

Pictured from left to right are Alistair Wagg with his kids, Emma Brock and Emma McGinn. Picture: SUBMITTED
Pictured from left to right are Alistair Wagg with his kids, Emma Brock and Emma McGinn. Picture: SUBMITTED

As a result, her assistant Emma Mcginn has set up a fundraiser appeal on GoFundMe.

Mrs Brock said: “I do not want the coronavirus wiping the shop out as it would be heart-breaking for me.

“It’s just the fear that it will all be gone after two years of hard work, and it would take it away from the community that does not have a lot anyway.

Fairstead Community Shop
Fairstead Community Shop

“There is not anything here anymore which is why it’s so important for the shop to be in the community.”

The shop works with food banks, and has attracted customers from Narborough, Outwell and Downham, as well as those living in Fairstead.

Mrs Brock continued: “Like everyone else, bills have to be paid, so I have had to use some of the youth club’s money.

“We have also used money from a raffle and tombola to pay the rent for the next three months.

“We are not registered as a charity so we are not entitled to Government and council schemes.

“The shop is a lifesaver to some people who need school uniforms and kids’ clothes.

“Kids like to come in for the Lucky Dip and we had one lady who had a surprise pregnancy so we gave her a pram.”

Despite the shop being closed, Mrs Brock and her team have been supporting the community during the coronavirus.

Mrs Brock said: “We are on a large estate and over time, you get to know who really needs the help so I have been making up food boxes and walking along to the doctor’s surgery on Gayton Road to pick up prescriptions.

“This may sound a bit weird but I took a urine sample from a lady to the surgery then collected her prescription. We are also leaving shopping on doorsteps.

“With a lot of the older generation, pride gets in the way and they are the kind of people who will not ask for help when they need it.”

The shop has also been looking after two cats called Rodney and Leah who often follow Mrs Brock, and who now reside at the shop.

Leah has had a microchip, while Rodney required Tick treatment.

Fairstead Community Shop cats Leah and Rodney. Picture: SUBMITTED
Fairstead Community Shop cats Leah and Rodney. Picture: SUBMITTED

Such selfless behaviour is part and parcel of the community shop and its manager, who was working without a wage just before the lockdown knowing that the coronavirus was on the way.

She said: “The money is not there for me to take a wage, and you do sometimes think what’s the point when I’m working five days a week.

“It’s just so hard because we do not make enough money.”

However, Mrs Brock said she desperately wants to carry on providing the service for the community in the future.

Her personal assistant told the Lynn News: “She helps a lot of the community, she helps schools, food banks, families, the lot.

“She’s always giving but it’s time the community comes together to help her.

“She’s really struggling to raise funds to keep her shop going.”

The fundraising page, which has so far raised more than £150, can be found at https://www.gofundme.com/f/help-raise-funds-for-local-community-shop

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