A Cambridgeshire c-store owner has given £1,000 to charity to thank locals for helping him improve his business.

Jonathan James, who runs the Budgens store in Soham, set up a community service panel made up of locals to advise him on how to boost trade. The six local people aged between 21 and 82 have met Jonathan every two months since the scheme launched 18 months ago to discuss problems they have with the store and suggest improvements.

Ideas such as stocking more local goods, adding a DVD section and reducing queues were taken up, and Jonathan has repaid the panel with a donation to six local charities. He said: “The panel has really helped me improve the store and find out what villagers want from it.”

Jonathan is now keen to add representatives from surrounding villages to the panel.