LOCAL: Chapel Stores – A new Community Shop and Post Office in East Boldre

John Illsley cut the ribbon on 26th February, to open the new Community Shop and Post Office in Chapel Lane, East Boldre.

A convenience to many, a lifeline to some

East Boldre’s shop and Post Office are the heart of the village, and a crucial resource for residents given the poor local transport. Without the Chapel Stores, residents would have to travel six miles for groceries, postal services, banking and bill payment.

The project has saved two vital village assets:

The village shop and the historic Baptist chapel, founded in 1810. Shop premises had proved impossible to find until the chapel come up for sale – Chapel Stores keeps the building in community use.

Chapel Stores is a community shop both in name and practice

330 people are involved in its creation, both as investors and volunteers. Over £700,000 has been raised, primarily from the community, as well as a government grant, in order to acquire, renovate and equip Chapel Stores.

More than a shop, Chapel Stores is a vibrant local hub

The store’s flexible community space will host a pop-up café, workshops and exhibitions, including on the chapel’s long and fascinating history.

Local produce is key

At twice the size of the previous village shop, Chapel Stores will offer a much broader range of products, with a particular focus on local produce, including wines, beers, jams, honey and beauty products. Every morning, bread, pastries and sandwiches will be freshly made by volunteers in the store’s own kitchen.


The Chapel Stores project began in 2017 when it became clear that, with the imminent closure of the current shop, East Boldre would lose its only store, its Post Office and its heart.

Spearheaded by Rebecca Gabzdyl, a management team of committed local residents made two earlier attempts to secure new shop premises finally succeeding when they acquired the Baptist chapel in May 2023.

Using minimal energy via heat source pumps and a solar system, the chapel lends itself beautifully to its new role. When it was built in 1810, it was the only place of worship in East Boldre and at the core of the community; today it is just that once again.

For further information: www.eastboldrecommunitystores.com

Minerva Studio
Author: Minerva Studio