Happy New Year!
We hope you all survived the challenges and pleasures of Christmas and the New Year. Thanks to all of you who did some of your Christmas shopping in our village shop.
In the last few weeks there have been a few staff and volunteer changes to tell you about. Just to remind you first, as a not for profit community shop we depend on a team of local volunteers for a lot of what we do. But despite the hard work of our volunteers, the size of the team has reduced and we need to appoint staff as well to make sure we can stay open at all times. Before Christmas we appointed a new day time shop supervisor, Serena Coventry. If you have not met her yet she is in every day from 9.15am, following Karen Elliott, our early morning supervisor. Serena is keen to ensure that we stock what people want, so if you have any ideas of items that we could introduce please speak to her.
In addition Sue Scott, who has worked in the PO for many years, retired at the end of December. Thank you to those of you who donated to her retirement present and attended her leaving presentation. We are interviewing for a replacement for Sue’s hours during January and hope we will have a new PO Assistant by February.
Finally, Diane Crook has been delivering papers each weekday for the community shop and for the original shop on Ashford Hill Road for 15 years. She has done a great job, facing whatever the weather throws at her early each morning. Sadly she is retiring at the end of January. She will be replaced by a new member of staff from Thatcham, Andy Bodker.
Serena’s appointment means that some of our long standing hard working volunteer supervisors do not have to work in the shop so many hours. As always we are very grateful for all the work of all our volunteers.
As a reminder, our Post Office is an important service that we provide for the community and it is well used. The Post Office service does not pay well, so our PO is subsidised by takings from the shop. If the shop closes due to insufficient business then the PO closes as well. If you use the PO please can we ask you to also use the shop at the same time? Anything you buy will contribute to the PO subsidy and therefore help us to keep both the shop and the PO open.
Tickets are on sale in the shop for Call My Bluff on 3 February. If you have not been before, and you enjoy wine and a bit of fun, please consider getting tickets. It’s to be held in Headley Village Hall. Hurry, time is running out for this great evening out.
The most important piece of news is that we are very pleased to welcome a new member of staff to the shop. Those who read this page will know that as a community shop we have been operating largely with volunteers for some years. Our volunteers are fantastic and put in many hours of work to support the shop, but we have been struggling recently with insufficient volunteers to cover everything. As a result we have appointed a full time shop supervisor. Those of you who go into the shop early in the morning will know that we employ Karen Elliott until 9.30am. In addition we now have Serena Coventry starting full-time on 4 December to cover each weekday. Serena is a local person and lives in Kingsclere. We hope you will come in to the shop to welcome her yourselves (and of course to do a bit of shopping while you are in there).
The post office continues to be busy. With Christmas coming, please prepare your cards and parcels well in advance in order to miss the last minute rush. Sue Scott, who has been our post mistress for some years, is retiring at the end of December. We all thank her for her work and her company, and send our best wishes to her for her future and for a happy retirement.
Our Post Office is an important service that we provide for the community and it is well used. Because the Post Office service does not pay well, our local PO is subsidised by takings from the shop. So, if you use the PO please can we ask you to also use the shop at the same time? You don’t have to spend a lot but anything you buy will contribute to the PO subsidy and therefore help us to keep it open.
We held another successful pre-Christmas tasting morning on 18 November. Those who came saw some of our Christmas stock, along with a range of our local, high quality products. The tasting morning introduced our newly stocked range of sauces and relishes from Atkins and Potts. These proved popular, so please come in and see these new products. We are stocking a range of Christmas products including cards, wrapping paper, Advent calendars, hampers, presentation biscuits and chocolates, beers and wines.
Halloween is long gone, but thanks to those of you who entered our pumpkin carving competition. The entries were excellent and the judging was tense. In the end we decided to award the first prize of shop tokens jointly to Savannah Joyner and Elodie Mason.
Christmas and New Year shop opening: For your information, over the festive season we are closed on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day. There will be no newspaper deliveries on these days. Otherwise we are open at our normal hours.
Get into the Christmas spirit by joining us for carols in the shop community room on 12 December
Halloween, and the joys of pumpkins and trick or treating, should have passed by the time you read this. But don‘t forget that if you bought a pumpkin from the shop you still have time to enter the pumpkin carving competition. The deadline for your entries is Tuesday 7 November. Check the entry form for more details.
We are holding a “local food” tasting morning from 10.00 to 13.00 on Saturday 18th November. This follows a successful formula from previous years where a preview of some of our Christmas Fare will also be available for tasting and sale. Honesty Bakery will be in attendance with their excellent range of breads, a new range of wines and beers will be available to try as will cooking sauces and condiments produced in Ball Hill by Atkins and Potts, winners of many “Great Taste” awards. Other surprises are planned. Entry is free and everyone is welcome so please come along.
Many thanks to those of you who donated cakes or attended the Macmillan Coffee morning on 22 September, held in the Community Room at the shop. Together we raised £250 for the charity and also had an enjoyable time. Remember that the Community Room is available for hire; if you are interested come into the shop and enquire or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Autumn is here and already some of you will be planning for Christmas!! We have to order Christmas stock for the shop well in advance and this year we will have a good range of seasonal produce, including cards and hampers. To launch this produce and to give you another opportunity to taste some of the local produce we stock, there will be a tasting morning on Saturday 18 November. Pop in to have a chat and try out something new.
We try to provide a wide range of produce, covering most general needs. We also try to offer local produce when possible, including beers, cheeses, cakes and bread. We are increasing the range of local beers, with Suthwyk Ales and Flack Brewery (both Hampshire) added to the shelves. We already stock award winning Isle of White cheeses, and we are adding a tomato juice made with IoW tomatoes. We are currently reviewing our selection of wine. If you have any suggestions for the range of wines we should stock please email us a email@example.com.
We continue to offer locally baked Honesty breads and croissants on Fridays and Saturdays. If you need to order speciality bread for a particular occasion, for collection on a Friday or Saturday, please phone the shop on 01635 268849, giving us 48 hours’ notice.
With Halloween at the end of October, we are getting in the mood for this by running a Pumpkin Carving Competition. If you buy your pumpkin from the village shop you will be given an entry form for this. This will offer free entry to the competition. All you need to do is email us a photo of your creation, or bring a photo into the shop, with the deadline of Monday 6 November. Two prizes will be awarded of £10 vouchers for spending in the shop – one for entries from those under 14 years, and one for those aged 14 and above. So even grown-ups can enter.
We advertised for a permanent day-time shop supervisor in the last edition of this magazine. The deadline for applications is 30 September, so at the time of writing we are waiting for applications. But remember, even if we make an appointment we still need more volunteers. Help is especially needed at the weekends with paper deliveries (using the shop car), and staffing the shop for early sales. If you are thinking about volunteering please ask in the shop for more information (there is a new volunteer information leaflet available). All necessary training is provided. You can email Carol-anne on firstname.lastname@example.org or Neil on email@example.com.
We hope to see you in the shop soon.
We have all settled back into 2017, coping with the variations being thrown at us by the weather. As I write this it’s snowing steadily and the temperature is 1 degree. The forecast tells me it will be 11 degrees in two days from now. But whatever is happening outside we hope that you get a warm welcome in the shop, and of course an opportunity to talk about the weather!
By the time you read this, St Valentine’s Day will have come and gone. Did you spot it? You may have bought something from the shop. We are now preparing for Easter, so please look in to see whether the cards, chocolates, Easter eggs you need are in stock – and don’t forget that Easter isn’t complete without a chocolate bunny!
We continue to offer locally baked high quality bread from Honesty Bakery at Greenham. As a small shop we can only stock a small volume and we receive a delivery every Thursday, Friday and Saturday morning. To make sure you get your fresh bread, and your favourite loaf, remember that you can order and we can reserve your bread regularly or for a specific occasion. We do need advance notice, so please ask a shop supervisor for a list of available Honesty products and an order form.
Newspapers and magazines are quite a significant part of our work. We sell them in the shop and also delivery daily. The area we deliver to is large. In addition to Headly and Ashford Hill we cover Plastow Green, the A339 from Cotttismore to Greenham Business Park, Bishops Green and Ecchinswell, and Thornford Road to Crookham. If you want to arrange a paper delivery for have a paper or magazine reserved for you in the shop, please speak to any shop supervisor. For those who already have newspaper accounts please rmember that when cancelling papers for a period you need to give us 48 hours notice.
You may well see us buzzing around the area in our little blue shop Peugeot delivery papers. During the week all deliveries are done by Diane Cook who turns out early Monday to Friday come rain or shine. At the weekend most deliveries are done by a band of intrepid volunteers in the shop car, with the local Headley papers delivered, in time honoured fashion, by a paperboy (it is boy at the moment) on a bicycle. For the last few years Luke Vetere has been reliable paperboy, by he “retired” from the job in February. In his place is another young local resident, Jack Hygate. We would like to say may thanks to Luke for his hard work, and welcome to Jack.
We hope to see you in the shop soon!