Chapel Stores East Boldre new community shop and post office in the New Forest

John Illsley and the team behind the new community shop and Post Office at East Boldre, Chapel Stores

Chapel Stores East Boldre is open - Mon 26 February 2024



The culmination of 6 years of New Forest community commitment 

This week was the culmination of an enormous local community effort. After 6 long years of dogged determination on the part of one amazing lady Rebecca Gabzdyl, supported by a group of committed volunteer members of the local community, on a blustery but thankfully dry Monday morning Chapel Stores in East Boldre was declared officially open by rock star and local resident John Illsley. 

John Illsley cutting the ribbon to open Chapel Stores the new community shop and Post Office in East Boldre


And what seemed like the entirety of the rest of the local community queued patiently to get in and admire the fabulous interior, with many starting as they mean to continue to support this gigantic venture by doing their regular shopping, at the same time giving the volunteers behind the counter the opportunity to get to grips with till technology! (See below!)


Chapel Stores opening, volunteers getting used to the tills


The launch of the new community store and Post Office marks the culmination of a six-year, £700,000 fundraising project.  The former historic Baptist Chapel has been transformed into a spacious shop and Post Office, selling freshly baked bread and pastries, fruit and vegetables, essential items, luxury goods and a variety of local produce, newspapers and takeaway tea and coffee.

At the far end of the shop there's a doorway into the old vestry, which has been transformed into a large community room which also provides space for art exhibitions and the pop up café.

The first exhibition is already on display, presented by St Barbe Museum and Art Gallery: a lovely selection of AW Seaby woodcuts and watercolours. AW Seaby and his family spent many summers camping locally where they set off on foot or bicycle to explore the Forest, which became a regular subject for his drawings, watercolours and prints.

There's lots of parking at the front of the shop, a wall mounted cycle rack, and a large area to the side of the building which will soon be transformed into a beautiful garden and seating area for everyone to enjoy.

So do pay a visit soon to Chapel Stores! 

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