A WHOLE lot of hard work before and after a community initiative came to life is having a real impact on Benarty.

Benarty Community Forum started the Community Shop project in June 2017 and set it’s sights on the shop washing it’s face within the first year.

This has been surpassed and it is well on its way to becoming even more successful in the second year. Right from the start it was decide that any profit that was made would be put into local projects within the area. And the group was delighted to be able to announce last week that they were donating £10,000 to two local projects.

The Shop was able to give financial assistance to groups that were focused on youth. One is Formula24 Fife, based in BRAG, which assists youngsters to build electric cars and be able to travel abroad and compete in the UK with other groups.

The other recipient was the Drivedeck project at Lochore Meadows Country Park. The Drivedeck with line following track is a motivational and fun tool that encourages users to proactively explore their environment in safety whatever their disability. Inclusive and flexible the Drivedeck is accessible to all users regardless of existing seating provision.

The Community Shop has given the two projects £5,000 each and the volunteers wish them all the best for the future.

Over a year ago Benarty Community Forum thought about setting up a Communtiy Shop. It was an idea of community education worker, Mike Payne, during the writing up of the Benarty five year action plan.

Leading up to the opening of the shop there was thousands of man hours put in to get the shop ready for its opening.

This also could not have happened without the assistance of the hard work/time put in by the local community as our pictures show a great deal went into it.

The Communtiy Shop is situated in Benarty Square, Ballingry. It is run by volunteers from the local community the volunteers have taken ownership of the project.

Shop Managers are Lorna Bett and Sharon Kinnaird, who deal with the running of the shop and the finance side of things.

The time and effort that the volunteers put in is outstanding and credit goes to all the staff.

The shop opened in June 2017 and has exceeded all expectations. The local community and others outside of the Benarty have been instrumental in providing the shop with donations, this has been ongoing week after week, with our loyal customers.

The Communty forum's Mike O'Hare said: "Within the volunteers in the shop there has been some youngsters who by working in the shop have gained confidence to go on to permanent employment.

"There is also a young lady who has been working towards her Duke of Edinburgh Award and enjoys her time working with the others in the shop. There was also a young woman who has been put through a course on Retail Visual Merchandising.

"The local community enjoy coming into the shop and looking for a bargain. The kids also just love coming in and having a look at all the toys and most of the time walk out with something".

The shop have recently worked alongside other groups/organisations like Benarty History Group, Benarty Food Bank and every week sell lottery tickets for Benarty Events Group.

The Forum have spent a lot of money within the shop to make it look good for all the customers.

Added Mike: "We were also assisted by kitchen company Brooklyn Kitchens and Morrison Construction who donated substantial equipment to the shop and the group are indebted to the companies. "The shop front was also given a facelift with a mural painted by local man Gordon Mackie.

"Others who the group are indebted to are Jim Christie, Jim Taylor, Stephen McMaihan, Peter McGuire, Alex Armstrong, Claire Graham, Jim McManus, David McKay, Willie Clarke, Danny Currie, Sergio Cerchian and Lesley Ann Penman and also a special mention to Tom Kinnaird.

"There was many more people who came into the shop and gave up a little time and we thank every single one of them.

"The group are also indebted to the owner of the shop, Zahid Mukhtar, who has worked with us on everything that has been accomplished and we could not have done this without his help and we will continue to have this working partnership with Zahid.

"As we move on into our second year the volunteers would welcome anyone that has not had a visit to our shop to come along and pop in for a look.

"As we have said on many occasions since we have opened, the shop has exceeded all our expectations and hopefully in the next few weeks we will have some other news regarding the shop".

Finally we would like to say a huge thankyou to everyone that has made this happen. Sharon/Lorna and the volunteers are looking forward to seeing you all on your next visit.