A community shop is looking to build upon a 'positive' first year in helping people stretch their budgets.

The Millom Network Centre opened the doors to its shop on April 11 2023 and has continued to grow as a vital resource for locals since.

The premise of the shop is to offer 'decent quality food at sensible and affordable prices' with the Cost of Living Crisis still posing a problem for countless people and families.

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Sue Dust, the Office Manager at the centre, said: "When we opened, we wondered, would the shop be welcomed and supported?

"We didn't know if people would understand that rather than our Community Food Pantry this was open to all, with no restrictions, no criteria to meet - we just asked that customers signed up for the membership."

That membership comes at a cost of £5 for yearly access to the shop, with its reasonably priced items and, when available, free food.

Since its opening day, the shop has grown to have roughly 400 members regularly using it to keep their fridges and cupboards stocked.

The Mail: The shop now has 400 regular membersThe shop now has 400 regular members (Image: Sue Dust)

"Angela [Dixon, CEO of MNC] and Sarah [Sharpe, MNC Trustee] were driven by the wish to help everyone in our small town to stretch their budgets that little bit further," Sue explained. 

"There was also a provision built in for anyone finding themselves in crisis."

The popularity and necessity of the shop have forced its team of volunteers to expand the site to accommodate the needs of locals.

"Very quickly we found ourselves having to increase the size of our shop space as we expanded our ranges of items, such as fresh pies straight from our MNC Kitchen cooked daily by Richard Turner," said Sue.

"The shop is run entirely by volunteers of whom we are very proud and deeply
grateful, it would not be possible without them.

"It has been an exciting first year and we are looking forward to seeing what the future brings for this much-valued venture as it continues to grow."