Village Vending Shop - St Mary’s, Newton Flotman 

St Mary’s Church in Newton Flotman, South Norwich is fundraising to become the first church in the country to provide a village shop vending machine within its building.    

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As part of their parish development programme, St Mary’s Church asked local people what they identified as the biggest needs within the village community.  Isolation, loneliness and the loss of a village shop topped the list.

St Mary’s Church is now embarking on a two-year plan to raise funds and redevelop an area within the church to provide an accessible, community facility that will house the Village Vending Shop.  The vending machine will sell a full range of groceries including refrigerated items such as milk and eggs. 

Rev Canon Sally Gaze, the Team Rector of Tas Valley Team Ministry said: “Our hope is that it will be stocked by a local business.  It is a scheme that is already running in other places although this will be the first one to go to a church.”

The church will be left open every day, so CCTV and other security measures will be installed. 

Sally said: “We want to have a space around the vending machine where people can make their own teas and coffees, with tables for activities and for other people to sell garden produce or cards. The vending machine will be a pull for people to drop-in, helping people to put on other activities alongside.”


Project: Plan for Village Vending Shop
Who: St Mary’s Church, Newton Flotman
What: Local access to buy grocery supplies
Where: Newton Flotman
How many: N/A
Contact: Rev Canon Sally Gaze by email on or call 01508 470762

First Sunday Breakfast

For the past five years St Mary’s Church has been hosting a drop-in breakfast on the first Sunday of each month from 9am – 9.30am
Croissants, fruit and other cold breakfast items are served with no charge.  This leads into a lively all-age, family friendly service starting at 9.30am.  

Rev Canon Sally Gaze said: “We just think that serving food relaxes people and gives them the opportunity to chat and to share with each other.”
The service includes makaton signing to make the worship as inclusive as possible for people with all kinds of special needs.  


Project: Sunday Breakfast
Who: St Mary’s Church, Newton Flotman
What: Free breakfast leading into all age family service
Where: Newton Flotman
How many: 25 people per month
Contact: Rev Canon Sally Gaze by email on or call 01508 470762

Photo: Chris Gaze of Newton Flotman trialling village vending shop in an outdoor setting in the village of Clifton, Derbyshire with its inventor Peter Fox.

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About the project

Norfolk Feeds 5000 is a research project which aims to establish the extent to which the Christian community across Norfolk is meeting the simple command of Jesus to "feed the hungry".

Christian churches, groups and individuals across Norfolk meet the needs of the hungry and the thirsty every day of the year through foodbanks, free community meals, homeless projects, soup runs, Messy Church and other activities.
A simple survey has been conducted to attempt to quantify the extent to which this is happening and the findings of the survey will be published here, including many of the stories about the projects which feed people throughout Norfolk.
The project is supported by Celebrate Norfolk, Network Norfolk, Christian Aid, the Diocese of Norwich, Good News for Norwich & Norfolk and Bright Map and is named after the Bible story of the Feeding of The 5000.

If your Christian food-related project is not featured in our case studies and you would like us to include you, please send details, a fact file, a picture and web links to us by clicking here

The research and reporting team behind NorfolkFeeds5000 is from Network Norwich & Norfolk: Jenny Seal, Helen Baldry, Tony Rothe & Keith Morris.


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