Community shop’s legacy

Rye Community Shop, as we all like to remember it.

The trustees of Rye Community Shop, Sheila Thomas, Mike Allinson and Kate Sims, are pleased to announce that following our final funding round, the remainder of the shop’s assets have now been distributed.

As can been seen by the photograph, we have distributed £65,000 this time, bringing the total given to local charities and community groups to just over the £150,000 mark. This is a tremendous achievement, funded 100% from donations and the hard work of the many volunteers.

Thanks must go to all previous trustees including Dave Pellen and Barbara Partridge; our two part time managers, Clair Debley Turner and Julie Stonham, and the very many volunteers who have given up their time to work tirelessly to make the shop a successful and pleasant place to visit.

We were not just a retail outlet but very much a community hub where locals and visitors alike could venture in for a chat, a sympathetic ear when needed or an update on all the local news.

We have been incredibly successful in the five years since we opened, this last year of 2020 being difficult, as it was for every business. We had to close our doors in March 2020 as did many other businesses, and we are grateful to Rother District Council whose grant enabled us to pay our rent.

A fantastic legacy and wonderful achievement by Kate and her team.

Rye Community Shop commenced business at 41 Cinque Ports Street in January 2016 following the closure of its previous partnership with ARRCC. This was a brave step for the fledgling new shop which was set up as an independent charity whose charitable objects were to support charities and community groups in Rye and district. Sadly, as all three trustees have moved away from Rye and no new trustees came forward, the charity has now been disbanded and the shop closed.

In allocating this final funding, the trustees have taken into account applications received, how many people in the community would benefit, and how much had been allocated to the recipients before. The results are as follows:

• Rye College received £15,000 to fully fund the establishment of a college community quiet garden set aside for peace and quiet contemplation. The garden will be accessible from the main hall which will also enable community access by users of the Milligan Theatre.
• Rye Rugby Club received £6,000 to continue with their £100,000 improvement programme to the club house. This grant will contribute to plumbing, electrical and other work to the clubhouse, which is used by many clubs including Rye Town FC, Hastings United youth academy and two running groups. They have two men’s teams, women’s rugby, youth rugby boys and girls 5-18 years and a growing women and girl groups of about 20 regular participants.
• Rye Heritage Centre received £5,000 to improve the heating and lighting systems and worn floor coverings, but has been asked to consider allowing Rye residents concession tickets to the Rye model, so fulfilling our mandate to benefit our local residents.
• Rye Day Centre received £5,000 as a contribution to the rent payable to the Rye Memorial Hospital for use of the space at the Hub on Rye Hill. Sadly, the day centre has been unable to open due to Covid-19, but it is hoped that this grant will help to cover this large proportion of its costs.

Pett Level Independent Rescue Boat tasked to assist on bank holiday weekend, May 21
Pett Level Independent Rescue Boat tasked to assist on bank holiday weekend, May 21

• Pett Level Independent Rescue Boat (PLIRB) Association received £5,000 for six months operating costs, which will sustain it in the face of continued outgoings and the costs of being ‘rescue ready’ for callouts across the 2021 seasonal months.
• Rye Cricket Club received £3,000 to cover the cost of hire of the sports centre and the payment of coaching staff. The club already has 40 youngsters playing softball cricket on Friday nights, 30 young people playing hardball cricket and shortly they will have three junior teams playing and the first ever girls’ team.
• Rye Music Well received £3,000 towards ‘Mary’s Fund’ to continue to provide music therapy sessions for children and families who have suffered abuse, trauma and neglect.
• Peasmarsh CE Primary School received £2,250 to help finance their breakfast club which the shop has supported since its inception. This breakfast club and the ‘free bagel’ initiative, where all children have an opportunity to have a breakfast bagel before the start of the school day, has had a significant impact on the children’s behaviour and concentration levels.

The Rye Wurlitzer

• Rye Wurlitzer Academy received £2,000 to help with ongoing costs given that most of their fundraising had to be cancelled during 2020. The grant will help to provide continued professional tuition to students across Rye and district.
• Iden Village Hall received £1,500 to help with redecoration costs and with improvements to the fire exit.
• The following schools have each been awarded £1,000 to benefit their art departments following the abandonment of the Rye Art Gallery’s Stormont Awards. Rye Community Shop has for the past five years supported this extremely valuable and popular art competition for our local school children and we wished to ensure that the pupils’ creative art continues to be funded. The schools are Beckley, Northiam, Peasmarsh, Playden, Winchelsea and Rye College.
• Other groups who received £1,000 include: Canterbury Oast Trust (Mariners); Care for the Carers; Oliver Curd Trust; Rye Harbour Sailability; Rye Discovery Centre; Rye Foodbank and Rye Harbour RNLI.

Rye Community Transport’s Dial-a-ride service bus
  • Rye Community Transport received £ 750 for the continuing costs of the 326 service

• Groups who received £500 include:
Camber Residents Association; Rye Allotments Association; Rye Society of Artists; Rye Street Pastors and Winchelsea Beach Village Hall.

We would like to thank everyone who has supported us through the last five years and wish the new occupants of 41 Cinque Ports Street every success. Watch this space, a new and equally beneficial charity will soon be opening their shop very soon.

Image Credits: Nick Forman , Kate Sims , Katherine Crowther , Rye Wurlitzer , Rye Community Transport .


  1. Rye Heritage Centre would like to thank The Community Shop for their support and for the amazing contribution they have made to our community in recent years

  2. Thank you and all the volunteers for the incredible work you have done for the Rye area community. You have left an important and meaningful legacy.

  3. What an outstanding legacy! Through the dedication and hard work of all involved, so many groups and establishments have benefitted. Truly a community project made successful by incredible volunteers.

  4. Rye Cricket Club are very grateful for the contribution the Community Shop has made to ourselves and to the wider community. We will continue to strive to increase the participation in the the game of cricket, and hope soon to announce how we will use the funds to work with local Secondary and Primary Schools.

  5. Thank you so much for the kind donation, and support over the years, from The Oliver Curd Trust. Due to Covid we were unable to offer families with children with cancer, life threatening illnesses and families bereaved of a child a holiday. We have now re-opened and your donation will help us so much to give the families a good break away to make memories.

  6. Thank you so much for the donation for The Mariners. The Residents supported by the Staff enjoyed a great day out which was much needed after the last year. Thank you.

  7. The Rye Wurlitzer Academy are absolutely delighted with their support donation from the Rye Community Shop for this year and in the past it is so much appreciated , particularly this year as we are only able to have three out of usual funding raising events.


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