I've known for a long time that a well-stocked convenience store can be the life blood of a community. A place where people can meet, catch-up and do their shopping.

But recently, I have seen for myself just what a difference independent retailers make to a community.

A few months back my Mum retired and although she had lived in the area for thirty years, she had always worked leaving the house at 8 in the morning and not returning until after 5pm. In the winter she didn’t see any of her neighbours and probably only visited her local shop once a month. She definitely was not part of the community.

But recently she has taken to visiting her corner shop every day. Every morning she manages to find some excuse as to why she needs to pop out to her local shop. Under the pretence that she needs to buy something. But my Dad and I know the truth, she has not just gone to get that loaf of bread, that tin of soup for lunch or the sweets for the Grandkids - she has gone round to have a natter and to get involved...

The friendly shopkeeper, and the staff all know her name, and always have time to chat. She bumps into neighbours and catches up on what they have been doing, she helps the older generation carry their groceries back.

Without this shop people would have to get in their cars, no one would be sponsoring the under 12's football team and no one would care that they haven’t seen Henry at number 6.

As a result of reading a notice in the corner shop window my Mum is volunteering at the local community café helping to raise money for a local sixth form for students who are mentally and physically disabled.

As a result of the store, and everything it does to the support the community, my Mum has never been more involved in the community and never been happier.