This is being written in time for the BMRT copy date of 12th April, but at the rate at which things have been changing over the last few weeks, by the time this is printed and distributed, no doubt things will have changed yet again.
With the need for so many of our over 70’s volunteers to self-isolate (truth will out in Ropley!!) either for their own sake or for the sake of another member of their household, our usual numbers were severely depleted. Despite all the dire warnings and advice to close the shop for health reasons, the Committee took the decision (via a whirlwind of emails) to try to keep open as long as possible – after all, surely this is just when a village needs its community shop, run by the village for the village. It wasn’t long before lots of the young and not so young from the village kindly offered their help and were soon put to work confronted with the terrors of the till, shelf-stacking, cleaning, record keeping, unpacking deliveries, stock control, freezer-checking etc. etc. Thanks to all our brilliant volunteers, we managed to cope with the initial sudden surge of buying, – we even had loo rolls and pasta on our shelves – unobtainable for miles around! New customers appeared from nowhere.
As more stringent health regulations have come into force, we have adapted accordingly – our noble cleaning fairies come in first thing every day before the shop opens to disinfect everything; disposable gloves are now worn; the 2 metre social distancing has been introduced; one customer in/one customer out has been enforced; customers happily chat and dutifully queue in the courtyard; stocks have had to be limited; new suppliers have been sourced; as a temporary measure we’ve now reduced our shop and post office opening hours to mornings only, so that we can offer an order and delivery service in the afternoon and replenish the shelves. And yes, at the time of writing, we still have loo rolls, eggs, milk, bread, wine, meat, fresh fruit and vegetables in stock!
This has indeed been a steep learning curve for us all, (fully justifying that extra glass of wine in the evening after a long day in the shop, we maintain!) but none of this could have happened without the enormous amount of help from all our volunteers, working as a team together and with the indomitable Vonnie in charge, filling so many different roles, we lose count.
A big THANK YOU to all our volunteers, behind the counter and behind the scenes and to our loyal customers. With your help and custom, we hope to be able to keep both the shop and the post office open for as long as we are needed.
You can visit us at ropleycourtyardshop.com
You can like us on Facebook Ropley Courtyard Shop
You can telephone us on 01962 773666 (post office 773190)
You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
You can reach us through MyRopley.org.uk
May Bank Holiday opening hours for the shop (post office closed) subject to change nearer the time
Friday 8th May and Monday 25th May 8.30 am – 1 pm