WITH rural shops continuing to close at a rate of 500 a year, Leafield Community Shop is determined to weather the storm, and is looking forward to a more productive future, thanks to the Jubilee Fund for Oxfordshire.

The Jubilee Fund was launched in April to mark the Queen’s 60-year reign by creating cash legacies for the county’s struggling charities and community projects.

Steered by the Oxfordshire Community Foundation (OCF) and supported by The Oxford Times , the fund is being supported by a multitude of businesses, individuals, philanthropists, and even mystery donors.

And this week the Leafield Community Shop is celebrating a healthier and productive future, thanks to a £500 Jubilee ‘cash injection’.

Rich Weinhold, 64, is a member of the management committee for the shop.

He said: “We are now in the 10th year of the Leafield Community Shop. We set it up after the people who previously ran the village shop retired, because we felt it was important for the community to have a store,andto retain some of our community vibrancy.

“Running any business is not easy in this economic climate, and this year has been especially challenging, with trade dropping a bit. But there is a great deal of support for the shop, and we are managing to stay afloat.”

The shop offers the village’s 800 residents a large range of groceries, including local food and drink from Foxbury Farm, Wychwood Fine Foods and Hook Norton Brewery, and a post office service, dry cleaning and prescription collection service. It was opened in January 2003 by David Cameron .

Mr Weinold said it was vital for the shop to stay up to date with the times so they approached the OCF for help in installing a new, electronic till system.

The Village Shop Committee had managed to raise a large chunk of the £4,000 needed for the new till system, but needed help with the remainder.

Jayne Woodley, chief executive of the OCF said: “In rural areas the village shop is an essential amenity and is often at the heart of the community it serves.

“Oxfordshire Community Foundation is delighted to have pledged financial support to Leafield Community Shop."

To donate to the Jubilee Fund or to volunteer to fundraise on its behalf, email jubilee@oxfordshire.org , call 01865 798666, or drop into OCF’s offices at 3 Woodins Way, Oxford. Or donate by phone by texting JBLE 12 to 70070 with a donation.

To apply for Jubilee Fund cash, visit oxfordshire.org