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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.

Published: 29/05/2017