Vounteers who saved their Northumberland village shop have been praised by the Prime Minister after winning a Big Society Award.
The group from Humshaugh, near Hexham, stepped in four years ago when the store faced closure.
And now it has grown into a thriving business, with a workforce of 50 and more than £18,000 in donations to other local projects.
“Humshaugh village captured the spirit of the big society when they were faced with the closure of their only village shop,” Prime Minister David Cameron said.
“Local people got together to keep this hub of community life open and four years on it’s still going strong.
“I’m delighted to be recognising the hard work and dedication of Humshaugh Community Ventures with this Big Society Award.”
The Big Society Awards were created to recognise individuals, groups or organisations that demonstrate the Government’s idea of “Big Society” in their work or activities.
The three main strands of that involve awards for “outstanding contribution to community,” “improving lives and society through innovation, collaboration and new partnerships” and for “engaging in social action”.
Former North East winners include Whitley Bay-based Nightstop North East, which provides emergency accommodation for young people aged 16 to 25 who are at risk of becoming homeless, in the homes of trained volunteer hosts, and the Biddick Hall Community Focus Group that transformed its community by taking action on health, crime and employment issues, and organising activities for young people.
Chairman of Humshaugh Community Ventures Dick Moules said he was thrilled the project had been recognised.
“When we took over the village shop we never dreamt that it would lead to this,” he said.
“It is thanks to the many volunteers giving a few hours a week that we are able to support a wide variety of village groups and individuals.
“This award recognises their hard work and dedication and makes it even more worthwhile.”