Store manager Val Newman of Tamar View Community Co-op in Plymouth, Devon, fought off stiff competition to claim the title of Association of Convenience Stores Community Hero 2009.

Her win recognises a series of successful fundraising projects for her local youth football team, and the establishment of a boxing club, which has contributed to a 50% cut in antisocial behaviour.

Her efforts have also helped transform the relationship between the area's youths, store staff and police.

Said Val: "Instead of fighting against people I'm working with them. It has been very rewarding."

Val, who was awarded £1,000, was up against Guy Warner of Warner's Budgens, and Richard and Win Morgan of Morgan's Newsagents & Post Office in Llangadog, Carmarthenshire.

ACS members chose the winner in a postal and online ballot.