What Makes Barr Community Shop different?

Update Nov 2017







We made the shortlist!

We are delighted to let you know that you have made the shortlist for Community Co-operative of the Year in Scotland. – Plunkett Foundation.

 Is it our great range of services?

Which include:

  • General groceries including; fresh dairy products, fresh meat (Hendrie’s Butcher, Girvan), fresh rolls and baking daily (Leith’s Bakery Girvan), locally baked biscuits and cakes, fresh fruit and vegetables, cleaning and general household items. We can also arrange to order, collect and deliver fresh flowers from Lizette Flowers, Girvan.
  • Free home deliveries are available.
  • Sweets, crisps snacks and confectionery including ice creams and lollies.
  • Freshly made drinks, filled rolls and baking are always available with fish and chips and homemade pizza on a Saturday night (please pre-order).
  • An off licence open from 10.00am during shop opening hours.
  • Daily and weekly newspapers and magazines are always available with any special request available to order. The paper and rolls are available by 9.00am 363 days a year!!
  • Coal, logs and kindling are also available all year round
  • Pet food, including wild bird feed and bulk animal feed bags to order.
  • We have a craft section with work by local artists and artisans as well as cards, photographs, postcards and a selection of woodcraft items.
  • A Post Office offering a free cash back facility, postage including special deliveries, tracked postage and Parcelforce collection and also post office financial services including post-office banking. There is also a cash and cheque deposit facility for most major banks. Full details of services are given on the Post Office website
  • A free local buy and sell service is offered through our swap and recycle board
  • Free WI-FI
  • Café
  • We liaise closely with other rural services, South Ayrshire Community Transport and MyBus for example and have most local information available. If we don’t know it we will find out for you through our own village network of helpers!!

Or is that we are much more than more than just a “shop”?

The shop is a vital social service within the village. It allows people to remain in their homes due to the high level of personal service provided; and it helps to provide training for young people in an area where such opportunities are limited. One of our volunteers Grace said:

Volunteering is a fantastic experience that I am so thrilled to be a part of. I’ve been volunteering for around nine months and it is a perfect way to spend my time. I get a real buzz out of helping people and over the summer holidays can offer my assistance more regularly. Volunteering at Barr Community Store involves a range of jobs that can be transferred into valuable skills and qualities. There are endless benefits to volunteering; gaining confidence with the public was a key one for me, personally. Handling money, time and stock is also important in working at Barr Community as well as adapting to using new technology such as the EPOS system. Universities, colleges and employers love seeing voluntary work on a curriculum vitae or application form as it shows initiative. Problem solving, gaining confidence, time management and working well under pressure are all skills I can now say I possess. It is a wonderful feeling to know that my efforts in volunteering are valued. There is a “community volunteering” course at my school where students can choose where they volunteer and since I am already volunteering I thought it would be best to do it in the shop.
I hope to start volunteering more within school hours and at the end of the course we get a Saltire Award.

 The shop is providing employment for local people and with support, hopes to offer more in future (watch this space!!). Many people regard the shop as a social centre, a chance to meet people and have a chat. It offers an opportunity to become part of the community for new residents and the chance to reconnect for others. We all recognise that social isolation in rural communities is an issue and Barr Community Shop is committed to helping to alleviate that when it can. Just one great example is the weekly coffee morning for senior residents (Coffee/tea and home baking for just £1.50), we are also developing a youth café for young people to socialise and have access to our new games console. Our newly installed FREE Wi-Fi will help with this. Again this is an area for development if funding can be sourced.

Barr Community shop is a social enterprise in which all profits form the café and other activities are used to guarantee the sustainability of the shop itself. We are a small community that would be severely disadvantaged if we lost our shop which is why the support of organisations like the GSA biosphere, SACT and other social enterprise groups is so important. Yes, we need financial support at the moment but we are growing and will be sustainable with the support of our community and the increasing number of tourists, cycling, walking and wildlife groups that are recognising what we have to offer.

Up and coming Events?

  • We have produced a new leaflet promoting not just the store but the whole village and private business within the area. Look out for it pretty much anywhere you go. If you don’t see it tell us and we will get it for you.
  • New social events including “Reminiscence “events. If you have memories of Barr we would love you to share them.
  • New menu items including homemade soup and rolls etc. for the winter
  • We are always looking for new Arts and Crafts products to display and offer a very attractive gallery area that operates on a commission basis, so no rental charges!

In short whatever we can do to support the sustainability of our local shop we will do.

By the way “we” is all our fantastically loyal group of volunteers who offer both moral and practical support and can always be relied on to give us a lift when things are difficult; our great staff,  Judy and Libby,  who go above and beyond time and time again. Also our directors who weather the storms and provide great direction and advice.

But most importantly our great customers who support our village through the shop.

This is a real community effort that is working towards being a sustainable, ethical and eventually, profitable enterprise.