Joan Vaughan: Crosspatrick Community Shop
Crosspatrick Community Shop was born out of panic, almost overnight the local community woke up to the fact that the village had all but gone. The chilling fact came as the first pub closed, then the Post Office closed but it was only when the village shop closed that the reality of the situation dawned. No one stopped in the village anymore. There was no reason and no excuse, because sometimes it was more of an excuse to meet people. Before, all roads that lead into the village, now they lead in four different directions out and the only place left now was the 9:30 mass on a Sunday morning and even then the opportunity to chat was diminished because people got into their cars and went off to Urlingford and Johnstown to buy their papers. This all happened in January 2010. It happened with no notice. It was overnight that the local shop closed down.
February passed and we were hit by this malaise with everyone bemoaning the loss. in early March we arranged a meeting in the local community hall to see if anything could be done. A few main points came from that meeting. First we needed a focal point where we could meet each other. The shop had provided this space because it was accesible to everyone, men women and children. Secondly there were some elderly people and vulnerable people. They needed to be able to buy things locally everyday and some couldn’t drive and had to get lifts or had loss their sense of independance etc. Thirdly , we hoped to get another shop back in village after the only shop was sold. As things were gettting back to normal, we didn’t want the people getting into bad habits. We just hoped things would go back to normal when a new shop would reopen. It also became clear that running a shop on a small scale wouldn’t yield sufficient profit to pay staff so the obvious solution is that the shop would have to be run by volunteers. The priest was there and he had no objections to the kitchen of the parish hall being used for this purpose and almost immediately people came forward to volunteer. Some of our valuable volunteers are here today. We also had two young girls that had finished college and hadnt got jobs yet, so they were great help. After that meeitng we opened a bank account. We went to the cash and carry and got our supplies and a loan of a fridge for our dairy produce and bacon etc. We got Thurles milk supplied Mondays and Fridays. HP gave a freezer for frozen food. We got insurance from FBD. The hall had public liablity because it was the parish hall. The biggest task was newspapers.
We did some fundraiser and cake sale. We raised €1500 from that. When we first started we opened from 9 to 6 every day but because it is a small community it works out better to open from 9 -12. That works our nicely for us. Saturdays, we have students to help. There is proably not a young person in the community that hasn’t got working in the community shop on their C.V.
The profits we have made has been put back into the community, painting the hall and walls outside and the local school. We have helped with running cost with fundraising, catering for funerals etc. Kilkenny LEADER came to our aid and also Peggy Lahart who is here. She works with us 19 and a half hours a week and does the accounts. She is great. But the real profit we get from the shop is that local people continue to meet each other and have a chat and a banter.
So what we have in Crosspatrick is a very basic little shop. It is not difficult to do as long as you have a place and volunteeers. We are the proof it can be done.