MP Nick Herbert has taken time out to visit the award-winning Kirdford Village Stores and discuss climate change with pupils at Duncton Junior School.
The Kirdford shop was awarded a ‘Rural Oscar’ as South East winner for 2011 in the best village shop category of the prestigious Countryside Alliance awards.
The ‘Rural Oscars’ are now in their seventh year of celebrating the characters, skills, traditions and enterprise of the countryside through the people who work so hard to make it tick.
They are led by public nomination, with each business being put forward by supportive customers.
Kirdford Village Stores, which opened in June 2010, also won the Daily Telegraph’s best small shops in Britain award last year.
Mr Herbert dropped into the store to congratulate staff and steering committee chairman Sue Ransley on their recent award, and to buy some locally-produced groceries.
Following the visit, Mr Herbert commented: ”Having attended the launch of the shop, I was delighted to see that Kirdford Village Stores have become an integral part of village life, with a fantastic range of local produce. They also serve snacks and I had a delicious sandwich and cup of tea.
“Our Downland community shops are a brilliant example of ‘The Big Society’, with people coming together to protect their local services. What’s striking is that community shops are often better than the shops which were lost before, and are more supported precisely because local people feel a sense of ownership over them.
“Well done, Kirdford, for winning your ‘Rural Oscar’ – you richly deserve it.”
Mr Herbert also visited Duncton Junior School to discuss climate change with pupils ahead of Climate Week this week.
The school has its own large field, pond and garden.
Its rural location in the South Downs makes it an ideal ‘Forest School’, aiming to encourage children through outdoor learning.
Climate Week, which ends on March 18, aims to inspire practical action from those who want to help combat climate change, protect the planet and create a more sustainable future.
Mr Herbert was treated to a tour of the school before attending a question and answer session with Year Six pupils who quizzed him on environmental issues.
Later he said: “It was a pleasure to visit Duncton Junior School and have a lively discussion on environmental with the pupils.
“They were very well informed and thoughtful about what they had learned, and I enjoyed my visit.”