As you are well aware, the current Coronavirus pandemic has impacted all of us in many negative ways. In a rapidly developing national strategy of managing the nation’s health care resources, drastic actions are required. To that end, we at Findon Village Store will do our very best to support the community and work collaboratively with the community to achieve this during the challenging times ahead.
Our primary concern at this time is the supply to us and distribution of goods we can stock to the community in a way which keeps our staff, volunteers and customers safe in a manner which accords with the Government’s Covid-19 guidance.
The supermarket shortages
have driven many to seek alternatives and with the power of social media
communications, convenience stores are becoming the place to go now. This has
put huge pressures on this sector and within the space of a week created
unprecedented shortages in supply to us of basic goods.
We also have a significant impact on our resources trying to keep the shop operational and available to our community and other users.
The position is that:
- We have more than half of our volunteers and two members of staff who have had to self- isolate in accordance with Covid-19 guidance. The safety and well-being of our staff, volunteers and community as a whole is paramount
- We have appealed urgently for more volunteers through social media, personal contacts, word of mouth and Findon News. We have been very much encouraged by the responses and by those coming forward unprompted, offering help, but we need many more
- New volunteers will take time to train in the various activities and to be comfortable in the roles they are fulfilling. I know our customers will be very appreciative and supportive of the new team members who will be working in a fantastic, supportive, committed team of experienced people
- There are new roles to fulfil as we extend our services by the taking of orders and making deliveries to our customers who needing to self isolate and learning and training will be given for this
- We are experiencing the same shortages of items as the supermarkets. Currently these are, lavatory rolls, kitchen rolls, all types of pasta, tinned goods and pain relief. All of our local suppliers are continuing to supply to demand, which has also increased, especially milk and bakery. This has put additional pressure on our buying team to manage order levels daily and sometimes have to collect if not a delivery day to us (e.g. milk). We are making daily trips to Cash and Carry outlets, as soon as they open to get very limited supplies before they run out in about 10 minutes. These are exceptionally challenging times. As long as the current providers have the goods available we have, with the help of those coming forward to help, enough skilled voluntary support to maintain the purchasing and to keep the shelves well stocked. Although, as some items normally available more cheaply become scarce, we are having to replace, if possible, with alternatives which may be more expensive
- We are seeing a significant increase in demand for newspaper deliveries as customers are no longer able to collect items reserved for them from the shop. We may need additional delivery capacity which could take the form of additional staff and/or a good neighbour approach where others could collect on their behalf.
- We will be continuously assessing the situation and make the necessary adjustments to our operation to be the best we collectively can.
New Opening Times and Home Delivery Services :
The shop will now be open to the public from 0830, but the staff and red-eye volunteers will continue to be on the premises from 0630. There is always a lot to be done at this time in the morning receiving the deliveries of bread, milk, newspapers, and restocking of the shelves. We will need to ensure that pre-ordered bread and milk is reserved and set aside.
As the shop will not now be open to the public during these times, if any volunteer who has stepped down due to concerns about coming into contact with the public could offer to cover the current vacancies, it would be hugely appreciated.
We are introducing a new Home Delivery Service to enable us to supply our isolated customers from the shop product lines. We are also working with the Peckhams the butchers to deliver orders taken by them for meat and fresh grocery products
The existing volunteer rota times will remain as they are at the moment but we will close to the public between 13.00 and 14.00 when we’ll invite offers from just one more volunteer to help put together the orders.
The shop will close to the public at 19.00. This will be for a trial period of 2 weeks during which footfall will be recorded and, if indicated, adjusted downwards to 18.00 leaving sufficient time for cleaning and re-stocking the shelves if necessary.
We shall be introducing new processes and engaging new resources to deliver the Home Delivery Service. To mobilise this quickly we will get the basics in place and refine with experience as time goes by.
The basics are:
- Orders can be emailed, sent by text, written on a piece of paper, or telephoned in. At this time telephone is the least desirable as the shop has been very busy and it could be difficult to free someone to answer the phone for long enough to take and order. It may be advisable to have a dedicated order line with a volunteer taking these;
- Customer accounts would be created and the invoice included with the order. Payment could be done by BACS, cheque or credit/debit card. Probably 7 days payment from invoicing date would be requested.
- Delivery frequency will be based on demand and our resources available to do this. All short shelf life products may need to be daily, other goods weekly on one day of the delivery cycle per customer.
- Making up orders would be by shop volunteers. Collection by the delivery team would be from a designated area outside the shop to enable anyone taking isolation precautions to be involved but avoid any human contact. All required hygiene must be observed in the handling process by the packing and delivery teams.
We are asking members of the community who find themselves able to help those who are temporarily unable to make their much valued contribution to come forward to help maintain and increase our services to those most in need in our community. We asking for help to work with us in the shop in various roles, collect goods from suppliers with an experienced person. We desperately need this to enable us to continue to supply what’s needed and deliver to those who are unable to come to the shop themselves.
We know what a fantastic community this is and are confident we will get the support needed.
Findon Village Collective Ltd
26th March 2020