A VILLAGE store - inside a pub - has opened after just two weeks of work and a £3,000 grant.

Emma Hitchins and her husband John took over The Bell Inn, Leigh-on-Mendip, in September this year and soon realised the village was in desperate need of a shop.

With a grant from Pub is the Hub Community Services Fund, the pair transformed their pub's laundry room in two weeks.

"I have been aware of Pub is The Hub and its great work for a number of years," said Mrs Hitchins.

"We could see that the village really needed this service, especially as we are again in lockdown.

“When we took over the pub I asked local residents if they wanted a shop and the response was overwhelmingly positive.

“There is limited local transport in the area and we have a number of older people as well as families living here that needed a shop closer to home.”

Leigh-on-Mendip has around 500 houses and limited public transport, with the nearest shop at least two miles away - so Mr and Mrs Hitchins are offering those essential items so residents don't have to travel.

The shop sells fresh milk from a local farmer, fruit and vegetables, bread, meat, cereals, eggs and drinks, as well as items such as nappies, shampoo and conditioner.

Pub is The Hub is a not-for-profit organisation that helps pubs to diversify and provide essential local services.

Reg Clarke, regional advisor for Pub is The Hub, said: “This must be the quickest ever creation of a village store at a pub.

“The pure hard work and determination of Emma and John to get this store open in time for the latest national lockdown has provided a fantastic new service for the village.”

The Bell Inn is also offering takeaways, including a roast on a Sunday.