£22,467.40 FUNDED

Community Café Development

Ruan Minor Post Office

To create a Community Café with 24 covers through the complete reconfiguration of the existing space in the shop to create a shop, post office and café.

New café is hub of the local community

When Claire Bollard purchased Ruan Minor post office and shop, the building was in urgent need of refurbishment. With the help of LAG funding, Claire has not only renovated the shop and post office but has also created an inviting café which, with its new counter, state-of-the-art coffee machine and cosy seating area, has become the hub of the local community. The floor and ceilings have been replaced, the building rewired and new shelving and lighting have been installed, to create a comfortable and vibrant space for shopping or meeting friends. The cafe uses local products, serving Kynance crab, cheese, pickles and salad dressings all sourced from local suppliers, as well as pasties home-made in the village and Cornish coffee with milk from the local farm; since the café has been thriving, the demand for local milk has increased significantly. The shop also sells a wide range of Cornish products, including Baker Tom’s bread and Chris Hosken veg.

As well as regulars popping in for coffee and cake, the café hosts many community events. Craft groups use the space, and the local history group meet there regularly to swap photographs and stories. It has even been the starting point for the Grade Ruan under 5’s Teddy Bears Picnic Treasure Hunt.

LEADER funding helps boost trade and increase income
Locals say that the café has transformed the village, and that having a local meeting place that is open year-round is crucial for the community. The café has attracted additional tourist trade to the village; Ruan Minor is just off the coast path, which attracts walkers and cyclists to the area, and the Post Office now provides a place to stop for refreshments.

Income from the post office alone would not have been enough to sustain the business, so the improvements and the addition of the café have made the business more profitable and, therefore,more sustainable in the long term.

Theresulting boost in trade has meant the business taking on new members of staff; income has increased, and is projected to increase further.

A number of rural villages are losing services, and the post office is an indispensable service to this community. Many villagers do not drive, and in the winter the bus service is sporadic, so people rely on the post office and shop not only to pick up supplies but as a place to meet and socialise.

Amongst other things, Ruan Minor Post Office now sponsors Ruan Minor Football Club, is the main box office for local theatre group The RuanRevellers, hosts a library in aid of the Fisherman’s Mission and is the main distribution point for the Grade Ruan Gazette. “I feel very much part of the community, and the business is a hub where people can come and ask for advice on anything,” Claire says.

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Key documents