Jel Singh Nagra went viral when he changed the name of his village shop to Morrisingh’s back in 2017. But the heart of the business lies in the work he and his family put back into their local community of West Allotment. He tells us more about his business and his latest award.
Tell us a little more about Morrisingh’s
I’m the owner of Morrisingh’s in West Allotment and we’re a village shop providing groceries and other services to our local community. My family and I started the business nine years ago and I run the business alongside my wife.
We love our business and we try to do as much as we can for the local community – we wouldn’t be here without them, after all. I think it’s also a big part of or Sheikh religion too, to give back as much as possible.
How did you come to apply for the Heart of the Community Award?
The local community of West Allotment entered us for the award. We’ve been involved in several local projects but the most recent one was looking after some village planters which had become neglected. We liaised with the council to get them looked after but were informed they’d been adopted by the village. No one seemed to know anything about it so we all clubbed together to renovate the planters and bring them back to life.
It was quite a big project because it involved some intensive cleaning in areas where there was no power source. We coordinated the project then invited retired members of the community to take over when it came to planting and tending the flowers. Now each of the four planters have been adopted by a family and are a real credit to the village.
We’ve also helped with some litter picks in the village which have been organised by some of the residents. We advertised them and rallied the troops and they’ve attracted loads of the local kids to tidy up the village.
Most recently we’ve acted as a hub to organise a bus gate to stop traffic using West Allotment as a short-cut. Projects like this have really helped the village and they nominated us for the award to recognise the work we’ve done.
What does winning the Award mean to your business?
It’s lovely to be appreciated. To be honest, we thought it was a hoax when we first heard about our nomination. I’m known as a bit of a joker because of the name of the business – we went viral when we first changed the name; we were in the news all over the world. But being nominated for, and winning, the award has been fantastic.
We’re very proud of what we’ve achieved and want to share it with our local community.
What are your plans for the business?
Running a small local shop is such a challenge. Competition is springing up on every corner so we have to diversify constantly. We’re always looking at new ways to serve our local community like acting as parcel hubs, selling Lottery tickets and other helpful services to keep our customers happy.
We’ll always do our best to move with the times.
What’s the best thing about running a business in North Tyneside?
West Allotment is the best place, ever. It’s North Tyneside’s best kept secret and we love it here. We have great public transport links and the community is so giving. Our location is perfect because we’re surrounded by the best of all worlds. We have the coast, the countryside and the city all within a short distance.
I’m originally from Stockton and I always say that if I’d grown up in West Allotment, life would have been very different. We wouldn’t be anywhere else in the world.
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