Gosh - this all seems so long ago now - a little Lockdown History....
The road to Normal? (Sept 2020)
I want to let you know how we have been planning to move our Shop back to more normal operations. The summary is above but, if you want the whole story, read on!
Our first step was to stop our newspaper deliveries on AUgust 1st, as described below. Deliveries proved to be such a bonus to almost 100 people in our community. Returns to work meant we could not sustain it any longer. We have replaced it with a customer collection service from a separate serving area in the Shop- inside and out - to give confidence to newspaper customers in returning to the Shop safely. Our sales-and-payment on account system continues to avoid delays when collecting your papers.
Our next step is a bigger change, as from September 1st we will be extending our opening hours until 4:30pm during the week and, as now, till 12:30 on Saturdays.
At the same time we have reviewed current guidance, and with everyone in the Shop wearing face-coverings, we will make the following changes...
Up to 5 customers will be allowed into the Shop; We will expect each customer to be aware of their space and manage occupation to a couple of folk in each room at a time, taking care as they move from room to room.
We will not have a volunteer outside controlling entry. We will ask each new customer to enter the front door and ask the volunteer behind the till if it's ok to enter if not obvious. That volunteer can see each room on our CCTV so is able to see if things are ok.
Our second volunteer/Duty Manager will carry out other duties in the Shop which,for 5 months, have been done during the afternoon sessions. They will be available to help customers if needed.
We will still serve pre-ordered newspaper customers from the back of the Shop. Those happy to enter the Shop who also wish, or can be tempted, to buy other items can collect their pre-ordered papers inside the back room. Perspex screens are in place from both sides.
We will restart our Dry Cleaning service to be collected on Mondays and Wednesdays. Customers will be asked to place their goods in a bag, or bring them in a bag, and the tickets will just be inserted into the bag without the need to touch the items.
A few in our community still benefit from having some groceries delivered, so we will continue to provide a telephone and email ordering service on weekday afternoons. Orders can also be collected from the back of the Shop if you are trying to minimise time inside the Shop. The added bonus of using the Shop for this is that we keep in contact with more people in our community as we phone and deliver.
With the current uncertainties, I guess it might happen that some in our community will end up quarantined after returning from afar. If you are in this position, or know someone who is, we will be there to help with the ordering and delivery service above – please help us publicise it if you know anyone in that situation!
We will start to offer Fresh Fish from Jon Thorner’s on special order for delivery twice a week.
Finally, a big thankyou to all the volunteers who have kept us going in these troubled times and to our customers who have chosen to shop locally and helped keep the community together.
Please come and see us again soon!
GIVE A CHEER TO OUR NEWSPAPER BOYS AND GIRLS!!!!!!!!!!!
Tomorrow, August 1st 2020 is the LAST newspaper delivery from our Shop and lots of us owe a BIG THANKYOU to all the folk who have got out of bed early 6 days a week for the last 4 months to get our newspapers delivered.
On 95 weekdays and 19 Saturdays these fine folk have delivered over 7000 newspapers to 6400 houses (that’s up to 70 houses lots of times !!) and I calculate they have walked over 350 miles in the process. Phew!
So a remote slap on the back for…
Jane and Grenville, Andy and Chris times two.
Edward and Buster, John and Ruth.
Fran with John and Tom with Helen;
Debbie, Finlay, Alison, Angela,
Jackie, Frankie, Leona and Krys.
And an extra CHEER for Geoff-the-News who has organised the teams from the first week – every morning for a couple of hours on over 100 days. Heroic!
Much respect and thanks to you all.
And below is a little tribute to all the volunteers who kept us open during the long lockdowns of 2020.
If you are in isolation you can order supplies from us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
April 6th, 2020 - we start our third week (is that all?) with our new systems running as smoothly as we could only have dreamed of when all this began.
Our volunteers are now delivering over 80 newspapers every day except Sunday - from nothing three weeks ago - a few glitches as you'd expect but a great result. The Old School Hall committee has given us free use of the hall to carry out this job which has been a great help - thanks!
We have been joined by enough younger volunteers to support our opening from 8:30 till 12:30 for walk in customers and now seeing Angels shopping for our customers who order by email too. All we ask is that our customers comply with our social distancing policies - and try to be cheerful too please - it makes the job a lot easier!
In the afternoons we have now 4 or 5 family groups who manage the email and telephone orders. This spreads the load a lot. Deliveries are orgainsed through our wonderful Angels very efficiently using their Facebok group.
Al the end of the day we have some stalwarts who come in on their own to tidy up and close the shop as well as place our supplier orders to keep us in stock.
Back at home, Pat and I administer our new Customer Accounts and phone you up for your money when it's time!
MASSIVE THANKS to all of you for volunteering above and beyond and to our customers old and new for supporting us. THis feels like a real Community working together.
March 2020.....The Shop hunkers down and the Community comes to Life!
In these challenging times, our overriding objective is to support everyone in the village with a local service that helps reduce their need to travel to larger, more crowded supermarkets, regardless of their circumstances under whatever Government guidelines are in place at the time.
First and foremost, we understand that your own objective is to stay as safe as possible and will work to support you in any way we can.
Please note our new arrangements which should have been tested by the time you are reading this – and may even have moved on as things seem to change every day.
1. WALK-IN CUSTOMERS
The Shop will be open and staffed in the
mornings only, from 8:30 am until 12:30pm, Monday to Saturday
- we will accept payment by card or contactless method (and vouchers) and will NOT ACCEPT CASH.
- we will NOT take TELEPHONE orders during that period but will ask callers to contact their ALMONDSBURY ANGEL to help them out. If you don’t know your own ANGEL we can give you the phone number of their Archangel who will be able to help (sorry Ali!)
2. ORDERS FOR DELIVERY
From 1pm until 3:30pm we will be staffed to take telephone orders on our normal number. This can be quite time consuming so please bear with us as we work it out and keep trying if we are engaged.
Email can be also used to order goods at any time which will be processed during this afternoon shift. Please be clear about what you need and if any options are acceptable. Use email@example.com as our other addresses will not be picked up so readily.
When placing an order we will need the customer’s phone number and street address, which we expect to be in Almondsbury.
When we have collected the goods together we will call the customer, review what we have available and the price, and take a card payment over the phone.
We will then arrange doorstep delivery, probably that afternoon/evening.
We are working hard to set up paper deliveries to all of our pre-order customers but it will take us a little time. This will help reduce the volume of people coming into the shop so keeping social interaction to more acceptable levels.
Our community is working hard to keep the shop running for all our benefits and we are heartened by the new offers of support from so many of you at this time. We will need all the help we can get. As the schools finish we will also be looking for safe roles for our under 18s to do their bit.
Our buyers are also working hard to keep our stocks up and expect shortages to work their way out of the system as the supply-chain settles down to a more regular rate.
Best wishes, stay safe and be kind! John Mclevy, chairman.