December 2019

Thanks to those of you who came to the pre-Christmas Tasting Morning in the shop on 16 November.  We hope that you enjoyed your visit and for those who couldn’t attend, please look out for future tasting mornings. They are a very good way to get to know the shop better.

There are changes in the Post Office in the shop. Elaine Stephens, who came to us from Kingsclere PO and has been with us for almost three years, is moving to the Forest of Dean.  She finished working in the PO on 30 November. We thank Elaine for her work and friendship while she has been with us, and wish her good luck in her move. Elaine is being replaced by Leanne Box, who is starting on 11 December.  Leanne lives in Baughurst. Initially she will be working alongside Sheila Crawford, our other established PO Assistant. We hope Leanne enjoys working with us.

Each year we have Carols in the Community Room prior to Christmas.  This helps us all get into the “festive mood” and is a very popular event.  It starts at 6.00pm on Tuesday 17 December. Please come along to join in the singing – everyone is very welcome, whatever age you are.  We provide mulled wine or cold drinks, and nibbles which inevitably include mince pies. There is no entry charge. We take a voluntary collection, and this year the proceeds will go to the Kingsclere Riding for the Disabled group.

As you know we are all obliged to make a New Year’s resolution.  You may have tried the regular ones in the past: losing weight, drinking less, spending less time playing Candy Crush or on Facebook etc.  Assuming you failed on all of these and you are struggling to think of anything for the coming year I have a couple of ideas. Firstly, if you don’t already volunteer locally, what about helping in the shop?  Volunteers can undertake a range of roles, from helping to serve customers and stock shelves, helping to deliver newspapers at the weekend, or becoming a member of the committee. If you’re interested email Neil at nrhaynes40@btinternet.com.  Secondly, if you don’t have time to volunteer, please consider using the shop more regularly.  Happy New Year.  

Finally, here is some information on Christmas and New Year paper deliveries for those of you who have paper deliveries from us.  There are no papers on Christmas Day, and in addition we will not be delivering papers on Boxing Day and New Year’s Day. If you have newspaper coupons which you have already handed over to the shop, you are welcome to come in to collect your coupons for these two days.  Newspaper deliveries will be as normal on all other days.

June 2019

We hope that you were able to go to the Headley Village Fete on Saturday 25 May and enjoyed the afternoon. On this occasion the proceeds of the fete are to be shared between the community shop, St Peter’s Church Headley and Growing2Gether, the local charity based at Cottismore. I’m writing this well before the fete; I have no idea what the weather holds in store so my fingers are crossed. As always with these events, a lot of people worked hard to organise and run it, so many thanks to all who helped. But in particular we have to mention Penny and Graham Stewart who were the main organisers and put in many hours of work – a huge thank you to them for all their hard work.

In May we also hosted the Open Studios in the shop’s community room. Again we hope you were able to visit this and see the high quality work being produced by our local artists and crafts people.

Now that it’s almost summer we have plenty of plants on sale at the shop, mainly supplied by the local charity Growing2Gether. These are good quality plants sold at very reasonable prices. We are also selling cut flowers, from The Headley Flower Garden. This is run by local grower Rebeka Rixon, who grows seasonal flowers, supplying them directly or through the shop. As they are locally grown seasonal flowers they are different from bunches you find in the supermarket or florists, and are always fresh and colourful.

For many years we have had a minimum spending limit on debit and credit card transactions in the shop. In order to be more flexible we have now removed this limit. You are able to use your card for any value of purchase. In the Post Office we still continue to offer the facility for getting cash back with your card.

Many of you will have attended our regular shop tasting mornings before. Our next tasting morning is Saturday 20 July from 10.00am to 1.00pm. This coincides with the annual Hampshire Food Festival run by Hampshire Fare, and celebrates local produce from Hampshire and the Isle of Wight. Come along to taste local produce stocked in the shop, including beers and ciders, cheeses, chocolates, cakes etc. It also provides an opportunity to come and talk to us about what we already stock, and ideas you may have for different produce. Please put the date in your diary.

We have always delivered newspapers to a wide area – including Headley, Ashford Hill, Plastow Green, Bishops Green, Ecchinswell and Crookham. We are very keen to keep these deliveries going in order to serve customers, and because the sale of papers is an important source of income for us. During the week we employ someone to do the deliveries. We’ve never managed to find someone to work at the weekends so we are dependent upon a group of volunteers. To keep this service going we need more volunteers. Please consider whether you could help at the weekend for 3 hours once a month, either in the shop or driving the shop car to make deliveries. Contact Neil on nrhaynes40@btinternet.com.

October/November 2018

Seasonal tasting morning

In the October Parish Magazine article from the shop we announced our November tasting morning.  Unfortunately we (or should I say I) got the date wrong!  Sorry.  Rather than 10 November as stated previously, it is going to be on Saturday 17 November from 10.00am to 1,00pm.  It is an opportunity to look at our Christmas stock and taste (and, of course to buy) a range of the local produce we stock.  You’ll be very welcome to come and have a drink and a chat as well.

Hampshire Fare

Hampshire Fare exists to support local food, drink and craft producers. It was set up in 1991 by a small group of Hampshire Farmers and with support from Hampshire CC has grown to the present “not for profit” organisation working with 400 Hampshire businesses.  Hampshire Fare works to raise awareness in the county and beyond of the range of food, drink and craft made in Hampshire. It aims to inform, educate and inspire the public to look locally when buying produce and to establish Hampshire as a destination for food lovers.  Produce ranges from cheese, charcuterie and meats to jams, juices, wines, spirits, beers, ciders and more.

Your village shop has been a member since moving to the Old Baptist Chapel and this has enabled us to proudly offer a range of produce not easily available elsewhere and at competitive prices, in line with our belief of keeping things local. Further information is available in the shop including an annual free guide from Hampshire Fare describing all the relevant producers, retail outlets and where to eat plus other features. Pick up your free copy of this guide when next in the shop.

Bread in the shop

Until the beginning of October we were selling bread and croissants on Fridays and weekends from Honesty the local bakers.  Since the organisation was founded a few years ago, Honesty has grown significantly and as a result will no longer supply us with the small order we need in the shop.  Honesty bread has been popular with a small number of our customers and so we apologise to those who have regularly bought this bread.  Instead we are increasing our in-store baking of loaves on a daily basis and we hope you will enjoy this fresh supply.

Book exchange

A number of you regularly use the book exchange system we have in the shop.  We welcome books you have read and are happy to pass on to others, and if you want to take a book to read from the shelves we ask for a 50p donation.  On occasions we have so many books we have to refuse further book supplies.  But currently we would welcome more books.  If you have paperback fiction books in good condition that you do not have space for, please bring them along to the shop. Thank you.

 

September 2018

BACK AFTER THE LONG HOT SUMMER!

We hope you enjoyed, or at least survived the unusually hot, dry summer.

In previous articles we have explained the shop is a community shop run by volunteers.  The shop is part of the community, non-profit making and managed by a team of  volunteers.  There is no shop owner; the Old Baptist Church which we operate from is owned by Greenham Common Trust.  The shop is set up as an association to benefit the community of Headley and Ashford Hill by sustaining the village shop and PO.  Anyone who supports this aim can apply to be part of the association by becoming a member.  The non-refundable membership is £10; members are invited to an annual general meeting and entitled to vote at that meeting.  The more members we have the better we represent the local community.

As a way of thanking our existing members, and encouraging new members to join, we are introducing a monthly draw. We plan to start this in October, with all members entered into a monthly draw for a £25 shop voucher. If you are a member, your chances of winning this are about 250,000 times greater than winning the lottery draw.  Can you resist that?   If you want to support us by becoming a member of the association please ask in the shop and you will be given a membership form.  Alternatively email Neil on nrhaynes40@btinternet.com and I will email you a form.

We always welcome suggestions in the shop and encourage customers to speak to us about stock or services.  In addition we have introduced a Suggestion Box.  This is currently on the small table near the greetings cards.  If you have any ideas for improving or extending the service we provide, please fill in a form and put it in the box.

We are already thinking about what stock we should get in for Christmas.  Alarming though this thought is, all retailers will be doing this and we have to order early.  Please think of items you would like to see in the shop all the time, or for Christmas, and put your ideas in the box.

We are always looking for new volunteers to help in the shop during the week or the weekend. We know that not everyone can make a regular commitment, but there are always jobs to be done.  For example, in front of the shop we have two large wooden planters.  From spring bulbs onwards these always look beautiful and enhance the area.  The planting is expertly done by Michael Everitt.  However the planters are reaching the end of their useful lives.  If anyone is prepared to build replacement planters for us that would be greatly appreciated.  Email Neil if you can help.

June 2018

It’s always a busy time in the shop, but in the spring and summer months we do see more customers which is always good news. It’s great to see locals and passing visitors in the shop, so don’t forget to keep using us.

Now is the time we sell plants to stock the garden. These can go quickly so keep an eye open for the plant stands at the front of the shop. If you grow your own plants from seed, including vegetables, you may have a surplus that you do not want to throw onto the compost heap. We will be pleased to accept these as donations, and sell them on. That is also true of vegetables and fruit you grow. If you have a glut of courgettes or beans, we will be happy to take them off your hands. Isn’t it amazing how many courgettes you can get off three little seedlings – at home we’re still eating courgette soup from last year.

Our new stock of frozen meats from a local butcher is selling well. They are tucked away in the bottom of the freezer cabinet immediately on your left as you enter the shop, so have a look at what’s there next time you are in. And you can ask us to order frozen meat in especially for you if you speak to the shop supervisor.

We have always delivered papers to quite a wide area – including Headley, Ashford Hill, Plastow Green, Bishops Green, Ecchinswell and Crookham. We are very keen to keep these deliveries going in order to serve customers, and because the sale of papers is an important source of income for us. During the week we employ someone to do the deliveries, but we’ve never managed to find someone to work at the weekends so we are dependent upon a group of volunteers. To keep this service going we need more volunteers. Please consider whether you could help at the weekend for 3 hours once a month, either in the shop or driving the shop car to make deliveries. Contact Neil on nrhaynes40@tesco.net.

Thanks.

May 2018

When I wrote the April update I was moaning about the weather and in particular the Beast from the East. At the point I’m writing it has not improved a great deal, although the forecasters are promising a significant improvement ………soon. Not surprisingly many conversations in the shop include the current state of the weather and related issues such as the right time to plant out seeds and seedlings in the vegetable patch. I am hoping that by the time you read this we are enjoying better weather and the gardens are starting to get back to “normal”.

The weather did have an impact on newspaper deliveries from the shop when the second lot of snow came. Smiths News, our paper suppliers, failed to deliver on two days. Since then their deliveries to us have been less reliable than usual, sometimes providing us with fewer copies of particular titles than we need. We apologise to any customers who have been affected by this, and hope that we have now returned to a more consistent paper service.

Part of the shop’s mission is to stock local products where possible and appropriate. This is in addition to the well-known national brand items on our shelves. We are members of Hampshire Fare. This not-for-profit organisation was set up 27 years ago by a group of local farmers to raise awareness of Hampshire and Isle of Wight produce. If local produce interests you, take a look at their website – www.hampshirefare.co.uk. Also have a look around the shop at the local items we stock including: free range eggs, honey, apple juices, pies, ice cream, beers and ciders, bread, cheeses and spring water. In addition, from just over the border in Berkshire, we sell a selection of sauces from Atkins and Potts, based in Newbury. It’s worth supporting your local producers.

We have reintroduced a range of frozen meats from a local butcher in Wolverton, and this appears popular with customers. Have a look at what is on offer in the freezer cabinet on your left as you come into the shop, and if you want us to order frozen meat in especially for you please speak to the shop supervisor.

If you value your local community shop but do not have time to volunteer in the shop, you can still contribute by becoming a shareholder. You can become a member of the Shop Association by buying one share for £10. You would be invited to the annual general meeting of the association in order to hear about our progress and plans and to contribute to discussions. Ask for a shareholder application form in the shop.

Finally the Open Studio Art Exhibition is to be held in the community room of the shop from Saturday 11 May for two weeks. This has been a very popular annual event for some time, so come along to view the work of our local artists.

Opening times for the two Bank Holidays in May are as follows:
Monday 7 May and Monday 28 May 7.30-10.00am
Newspapers in the shop and newspaper deliveries will be normal for both of these days

April 2018

The beginning of March was a challenging time.  Snow drops were fully out and the daffodils were on their way – and then came the Beast from the East.  The snow and the very low temperatures were a shock. Hopefully you all managed during that period. The shop closed early on the two very snowy days, but staff and volunteers were great and worked hard to keep everything going.  Even the papers got through. Luckily we were able to get the use of two 4 wheel drive vehicles, and teams went out into the snow drifts to deliver. This was helped because most people, very sensibly, kept off the road so we encountered very little traffic.  Over the two very bad days we failed to deliver to just four houses – not bad given the weather. Needless to say the papers were delivered later than usual; apologies to our customers for that.

We were very pleased to welcome a new permanent member of staff at the beginning of March.  Sheila Crawford joined us on 1 March and will be working in the Post Office on Thursdays, Fridays and alternate Saturday mornings.  This means that we are now back to a full establishment of staff in the shop and the PO.

Thank you to those PO users who are making regular purchases in the shop when they visit us.  We have explained before that the PO is subsidised by our shop takings. That means that for the PO to remain open we need to do well in the shop.

Despite the fact that we have taken on additional paid staff, we are still very dependent upon volunteers.  Our existing volunteer team is great but we always need more volunteers on weekdays and at the weekend. We are particularly short of volunteers for our early opening period on Saturdays and Sundays.  This entails about 3 hours each day, and we need volunteers to work in the shop and to deliver newspapers using our shop car.

If you can help please ask for a volunteer leaflet in the shop, or email Neil on nrhaynes40@tesco.net or Carol-anne on carol_anne_rhatigan@hotmail.com.

 

Opening times over Easter are as follows:

  • Good Friday 30 March 7.30-10.00am
  • Saturday 31 March – normal opening times 6.30am -12.30pm
  • Sunday 1 April – normal opening times 7.30 -10.00am
  • Easter Monday 2 April – 7.30-10.00am
  • Newspapers in the shop and newspaper deliveries will be normal for all of these days

March 2018

Firstly many thanks to those of you who came along to the “Call My Bluff” wine tasting event on 3 February. Those of you who did not attend missed a great evening out. We have to thanks Mary Bayly who organised it all and did a terrific job, making sure that it would run as smoothly as it did. It was the perfect combination – a highly enjoyable, sociable evening and a very successful fund-raising event. Mary has asked to say the following.

“Our Call My Bluff wine tasting evening was a great success. Thank you to all those who helped in any way, by cleaning the hall in readiness or clearing up afterwards, by preparing and serving the food and wine and buying raffle tickets. A special thanks to out three “wise wine men”, Graham, Ken and Mark, who kept us in fits of laughter with their banter and “accessories”! But most of all, huge thanks to all of you who supported the event – your amazing generosity enabled us to raise over £1,000, which will be shared between the Community Shop and Headley Village Hall. “

We have a few important volunteer and staff changes to report in this article.

Alyson Cowlishaw has been a key volunteer for many years, as well as being a cover member of staff in the Post Office. She has volunteered as supervisor and provided much needed help in setting up and supporting our IT system. Alyson and her husband Andy are moving to Cornwall. We wish them both well and hope they enjoy life in the south west. Thanks Alyson for all your support in the shop.

In the last magazine we reported that Diane Crook, who has been delivering weekday newspapers for the shop in Headley for 15 years, was retiring. We were a little worried that we would find it difficult to replace her. But I am very pleased to report that on 5 February Andy Bodker joined the staff team as deliverer. You will see Andy driving around in the shop car early each morning. He has quite a complex route to learn (initially in the dark), so for those of you who have weekday papers delivered by us I hope you will understand that initially your paper may have arrived a few minutes later than usual.

Again in the last magazine we reported on Sue Scott’s retirement from the Post Office. We have recently appointed Sheila Crawford to take over most of Sue’s hours and she will be starting on 1 March. She wil be working on Thursdays, Fridays and alternate Saturday mornings. You may have met Sheila in Baughurst PO before coming to us. We welcome both Andy and Sheila as new members of staff.

Having mentioned the appointment of a new paper deliverer, remember that we deliver to a large area including Headley, Ashford Hill, Plastow Green, Bishops Green, Eccinhinswell and Burghclere, We provide the only paper delivery service to some parts of this area. If you would like your papers to be delivered please enquire in the shop. If you have friends in the area who may not receive this magazine, please mention this service to them and encourage them to make use of the shop.

January / February 2018

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.

December 2017

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