Finalists in the Countryside Alliance ‘Rural Oscars’ for the South-East Region

We are proud to announce that Hampstead Norreys Community Shop and Café is a regional finalist in this prestigious award. Customers voted for us (thank you!) and we are one of four businesses in the South-East to reach the final in the category village shop/post office (even though we don’t have a post office).

The next stage is to complete paperwork showing what is special about our shop – the challenge there is not what to write but what to leave out – there is so much we can say about the range of activities that take place. A visit from the Countryside Alliance judges will occur in the Spring, and then (drum roll) we will find out if we get through to the final. Only nine regional champions from five categories will be invited to Parliament for the national finals and just five will be crowned national rural champions.

We are keeping our fingers crossed, and hope you will too!

Hampstead Norreys Community Shop – winners of a national competition!

We are delighted to have won a national competition run by the Plunkett Foundation. We entered in the category ‘Diversifying to make a difference’ and won first prize! The entry focused on our attempts to become more eco-friendly, sourcing non-plastic alternatives and reducing the amount of plastics used in the shop. We were particularly commended for encouraging the community to eco-brick, removing single-use plastic from the environment to create eco-benches for our local primary schools.

The photo shows (from right to left) Charlie Luxton, TV personality who hosted the awards, Mandy Brown, shop manager, Lesley Ravenscroft, committee member and volunteer, and Paul Kalinauckas, sponsor, from BCRS business loans.




Christmas market: a great success fuelled by 170 cups of coffee!

The Shop’s Christmas Market on Saturday, November 3rd was our most successful ever, with hundreds of people turning up. We were lucky with the weather, and the large tented area set out behind the café worked really well as a venue for the multiple, diverse stallholders to sell their wares. They were all very happy with their sales, and especially with the atmosphere, which was buzzing. Morag played fabulous jazzy music in the corner and everyone loved it. Inside the shop we had a few more stallholders as well as selling crepes, cheese and mulled wine…all of which sold out!  All the festive food was very popular, and the gorgeous Christmas food gifts sold well too.  The café contributed to the buzz by selling 170 cups of coffee. We can’t thank everyone enough for their support and all their hard work. Special mention should go to Barbara Kilpatrick for her months of planning and organizing, and to William Betts. Our best event yet!



Plunkett Award Finalist!

We are thrilled to be selected as one of three finalists in a national competition run by the Plunkett Foundation, an organisation that supports community businesses up and down the country. The final is in London on December 5th. Fingers crossed! 

The enthusiasm … (is) infectious from this community business. Having come up with such innovative ideas in their drive to become ‘plastic-free’, they are aiming to make the community become more sustainable. It was also heartening to read how inclusive the initiatives are, deliberately aiming to involve the whole community across the entire age range. Their eco-bricking idea is brilliant and they are an inspiring initiative that thoroughly deserved to be in the mix for an award.

Christmas market

We are now getting ready for our Christmas market, held in November to enable people who start their present shopping early to see the beautiful items available on over 30 stalls. Come along on Saturday 3rd November from 10am to 3pm – it should be great fun!

Our eco-bricking workshop

We had a great afternoon eco-bricking! Young children, teenagers, adults … all concentrating hard to get as much single use plastic inside a bottle as possible. Please do join us in our determination to take plastic out of the environment – the bottles will be used to build a snake-shaped bench for local children so we need a lot of them! For an explanatory leaflet email




It is disturbing how much plastic we use on a daily basis – here are just some of the things we cannot at present recycle through Newbury District Council, but we can eco-brick!



Are you eco-bricking it?


This is an eco-brick! It’s a plastic bottle full of single use waste plastic – a way of taking plastic out of our environment. 



And this is what the eco-bricks will be used for – making snake like benches for local children to sit and run on.

On Wednesday 8th August, at 2:30pm, we are running a workshop to show how to create eco-bricks. Do come along and have a go – it is remarkably satisfying. Bring some clean and dry waste plastic with you (we will have some spare, including bottles).

All welcome, including children.

(images from


Our biggest and best Summer Market

The sun shone . . . loads of people came . . . and we all had a great day. Huge thanks to Barbara K for her seamless organisation – it may have been hard work but it was definitely worth it! Do get in touch if you would like a stall at our winter market.


Summer Market

Save the date: On June 2nd, from 10am to 2pm, it is our Summer Market – bigger and better this year thanks to the tireless work of Barbara K and others. There will be 32 different stalls including  an environmental awareness stall run by volunteers from our community who are working to reduce the amount of plastic currently in use: come and see some of the new environmentally friendly products that will soon be in the shop.