We are pleased to report another year of successful trading here at Chittlehamholt supporting the community.
Our year-end figures show a small profit on increased trading particularly in the last six months due in total to the Covid-19 lockdown in the three months from March. Together with help from the Parish Councillors, we were able to provide vital supplies to the vulnerable in our community. This was done during a period when our regular wholesaler experienced shortages of many of the household staples. We, and Steve and Bev Wilkinson had to go far and wide to get necessary replacement stock.
Being volunteer run (which means by retired people), we found that we had a number of high-risk volunteers in our group, due to health concerns, but we only lost one volunteer. The remainder of high-risk volunteers chose to stay in the shop to support the community in their time of need, and to those who actually risked their own health we salute you for your bravery.
With Highbullen Hotel being placed on the market, and the withdrawal of plans to build the lodges meaning that the S106 money would not now be forthcoming, we have shelved plans to enlarge the shop. At present, our measures to protect volunteers and customers alike mean that customers cannot enter the shop, which negates any need to expand for the time being. Should the situation change then further consideration will be given to the need to expand.
The community and visitors have accepted our reduced shop opening hours that was felt necessary to reduce the risk of infection. Volunteers in the shop are for the most part couples who live under the same roof (in the same bubble). We implemented the wearing of disposable gloves by the volunteers, and have an enhanced cleaning programme in place in an attempt to eliminate the chance of infection. We have been doing this since the start of lockdown. So, so far so good, and we will continue to monitor the changing situation with a view to adjusting procedures accordingly.
In conclusion, we have been very pleased to see neighbours looking after other neighbours, and the community factions all pulling together to overcome the siege that is Covid 19.
Hopefully, scientific developments in the near future will allow us to return to something approaching a recognisable normal life. Stay safe and well.
Tim Baker
Chittlehamholt Community Shop.