The cabin

Many forecourts do good work for their local communities whether that’s having collection tins for local charities or providing prizes for local events.

Lewis Ltd’s The Garage in the village of Llandrinio in Powys does all this and much more in spades, which is why it won Best Community Engagement Initiative at the Forecourt Trader of the Year Awards 2022.

The family-owned and run Texaco site, with Spar convenience store and post office, has its roots in the grocery trade dating back to the 1920s. The business prides itself on its unique team of hardworking and knowledgeable staff who are happy to go the extra mile to make all customers feel valued.

They do loads of local fundraising from collection tins for Welsh Air Ambulance and a local cancer support centre to donations of daily newspapers to their local hospice. They also donate to local events with raffle prizes and supplies and help local schools with any fund raising they need especially at Easter when the demand for eggs is high.

However, one of the business’s most successful projects is ‘The Cabin’, a standalone unit on the site which is used as a community drop-in centre.

Site manager Jenny Donaghy explains: “We had a charity shop on our site for 20 years which used to generate £250/month for local worthy causes from the sale of items in the shop. But it closed before lockdown.

“Then during lockdown, when we were doing home deliveries and Click and Collect from our Spar store, we saw how lonely a vast number of people in our local community were.

We saw how they needed support and how important local meant so we repainted and refurbished the unit and named it The Cabin and we opened in November 2021.”

Jenny says it soon established itself as a place for people to meet up, to re-establish connections and build their social confidence in a post-pandemic world.

With space for 24 cars to park, it hosts art and well-being groups and local societies. In addition, local councillors and Welsh Assembly members hold their local surgeries there.

Jenny describes it as a joint effort with the local community.

“We sit on the steering committee but it is run by volunteers. We provide it rent free and do all the paperwork and promote all its news on social media via a Facebook page.

“Every month we create and distribute a local newsletter which includes news about church services, where the defibs are located around the village, events, etc.”

A local newsletter may seem a little outdated in 21st century Britain but Jenny says it serve an important purpose: “As we are situated on a flood plain, (the B4393 road, ‘Gateway into Wales’, from mid Wales into Shrewsbury and Telford) the local roads often flood so we include valuable information about which roads are closed and where the detours are because many of our elderly community do not have access to the internet or social media.”

As for The Cabin Jenny confirms that it is firmly established as a really important meeting and social venue in the Llandrinio community.

• Do you go out of your way to help your local community? If you do, there is still time to enter this year’s Forecourt Trader of the Year Awards. Go to to find out more