A heartfelt thank you … 

Our community shop is not just about operating a commercial profitable enterprise – although that is what it does – but it also about supporting our local community.  We purchase locally wherever possible, we deliver to people who are housebound or unable to carry their shopping home, we’re an informal advice service, we offer social housing through our flat above the shop, and we actually care about each other.   Our volunteers are a great team with a rich variety of life and professional skills which are willingly shared for the benefit of us all. 

This year our wonderful shop has done even more.     Traditionally in the weeks before Christmas appeals are made at services at Michael’ Church Hayling Rise and collections are taken  to fund the purchase of essential food items and seasonal treats for Christmas hampers for families in need.   Individuals  offer to bulk purchase specific items at the cheapest price possible from local supermarkets, which are then stored securely in spare bedrooms, garages, and sheds until being transported to the Church Hall for sorting and packing for distribution to individual households.  When I approached our Chairman, Steve Smith, somewhat tentatively, to see if it would be possible  to bulk purchase some items at the Cash and Carry, he asked what was needed and the next thing I knew was that the management committee had offered to donate a substantial proportion of all that was required!  A fabulously generous offer.  But not only a very generous donation but all the humping and hauling that went with it – the purchasing transporting and stacking and storing of huge quantities of bulk purchases in my garage in Fox Lea. 

Everyone is familiar with the context to the need, especially this year.  We’ve always provided Christmas hampers for families in need but this year the demand has risen exponentially.  Keith and Sheila Padwick the inexhaustible couple who spearhead the project said, “We have been taken aback by demand this year.   From the early days when it was just a few – between 10 or 20 hampers – this year we have packed 110!”  “More and more families are needing our help”  They said how very much they appreciated the help of so many people but especially our Village shop.  “We are so lucky that we live in an area that is so very generous with both their time and their money”, said Sheila. .   “St. Michael’s will do what it can but this is a real issue within our community and we cannot begin to deal without help.  . We thank everyone who has contributed and wish everyone a Covid-free Christmas!”  I cannot thank everyone enough for their generosity.  I wish you all a very Happy Christmas.  Steve, with characteristic  understatement said, that as a community collective, the shop was proud to contribute and it was what ‘being for the community by the community’ was all about.

As the shop’s volunteer co-ordinator I am so so proud to be involved in everything the shop does and do and thank all our volunteers for making it the outstanding success it is  – not just at Christmas but throughout the year

Margaret Bamford