What’s New?

Resignation of Chairman

At the HRCS Committee Meeting today, 28th. October David Clements resigned as Chairman after 8 years master minding the success of Our Shop.
His dedication to drive forward this vital Village enterprise and Hub cannot be over emphasised.
Andrew Norton will be acting as Chairman until a new permanent Chairman can be found.

Changing the Guard at Our Shop

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Jillian-and-Mary-1-1024x575.jpg

On Saturday 13th June, our much-loved Manager Jillian Fawcett will retire, having run the shop for 6½ years. During her time at the helm, she has turned it into a destination for food-lovers as well as providing a wonderful service to the village and increasing the shop sales from around £170,000 a year when she took over to its current level of approaching £250,000. During the current coronavirus crisis, she has worked extraordinarily long hours and managed to source supplies that were unavailable in supermarkets and we have wanted for little over the last three months. Well done Jillian and a big thank-you from the whole village.

On Monday 15th June, Mary Brown will become our new Manager. Mary lives in Merriott with husband Martin and her beloved border terrier Moss – she should fit in well here with all the border terriers and other small dogs in the village! Mary comes to us with a wealth of experience in retail, having work for the last 21 years for Beales until their collapse into administration and before that for 7 years in a cash and carry. Says Mary: ” Following Jillian is going to be a great challenge but I’m already loving the job and getting to know all the customers”.

Please note:

People are still coming to the shop to collect orders well after shop closing time. This slows down the shop closure process and makes it more difficult for the staff to get away. Please ensure that you collect your order not later than 2.00pm.”


“The Phantom Banner-Erectors strike again!
We woke up the other morning to find that the phantom banner phantom banner-erectors had struck again, with a lovely star-spangled banner! It’s such a lovely idea and we can’t wait for the next one.
A big thank-you again to our team of super-stars who are keeping the village well-supplied through Our SHOP.”

But Who Did It?

When we all woke up this morning, there was a lovely big banner across the front of the shop – see the attached picture!

All of us working to keep the shop running would like to say our big “thank-you” to those people who took the trouble to make and erect the  banner – it was much appreciated..

Our SHOP and Coronavirus

Well, if anybody had any doubts about the value of the shop to the community, those doubts should now have been blown away! The efforts of our reduced team of staff and volunteers led by the inexhaustible and endlessly inventive Jillian have ensured that we have been able to keep the village supplied with almost all its daily needs. One of the heartening things has been to see the effort put in by some of our village teenagers –  William Lawson, Poppy and Barney Lankester, Matilda Bloomfield and Daisy Burrows – who have brightened up the shop with their cheerfulness and willingness to undertake any task. We have also see a number of new adult volunteers who have come forward to fill the gaps left by some of our older volunteers who are (rightly) self-isolating.

Let’s hope it’s all over soon and we can all return to normal.

New blood for the Management Committee

The last Annual Members’ Meeting saw the departure from the Committee of Salle Wroblewski, Mike Shaw, Judy Craig and Les Farris and we are very grateful to all of them for their varied contributions to the work of the Committee. We were delighted to see Pippa Reynolds elected to the Committee at the AMM but this still left us with rather depleted numbers. However, we are delighted to report that at our last meeting, we co-opted Sheila Hayler, who has offered to alternate with Jean Roberts as Minutes Secretary and also Poppy Kennedy, whose appointment at a stroke reduced the average age of the Committee by several years…. We are delighted to have someone on the Committee to represent the particular interests of younger families.

Thank you Sheila and Poppy and we look forward to working with you!

Annual Members’ Meeting for year ending 30th September 2019

56 members of the HRCS Ltd attended the 8th Annual Members Meeting in St. George’s Hall on 14th February 2020. The Chairman of the Management Committee, David Clements, was able to report another satisfactory year, with profit before tax of £7,189 well ahead of the budget figure of £5,307, although slightly down from last year’s figure of £8,027. Shareholders’ funds increased from £254,836 to £260,574. Shop sales rose significantly from £220,417 to £233,671 but  the operating profit was eroded by lower gross margin and also higher salary costs which reflect the increase in the National Living Wage. Total turnover of the business exceeded a quarter of a million pounds for the first time.

Looking to the year ahead, it has started well with sales and gross margin significantly up on last year but the main challenge we face is to find a replacement for our much-loved Jillian, who will start a well-earned retirement later this year. Nonetheless, we face the future with confidence.

Our SHOP’s Christmas Tasting events

In the run-up to  Christmas, Our SHOP has held a number of tasting events, including for Longman’s Cheese, Baboo Gelato ice cream and our very own wine collection. At late night opening on 29th November 2019,  David Adams and Caroline Vandenberg presented some lovely wines, leading to healthy Christmas orders.

Our SHOP Runner-up in 2019 Plunkett Awards

Once again, Our SHOP was Runner-up in the Better Business section of the 2019 Plunkett Foundation Awards.  Manager Jillian Fawcett went up to London on 28th November 2019 for the prize-giving, held in the impressive surroundings of Burlington House. Congratulations to Jillian and her team and all our volunteers who make the shop such a success.

Our SHOP Shortlisted for 2019 Plunkett Award!

We have just heard that we have once again been shortlisted for an award in the 2019 Plunkett Foundation’s Rural Community Business Awards.

We are one of three shortlisted in the Horace Plunkett “Better Business” category, which recognises communities that find solutions to their needs through cooperation and enterprise.

The winners will be announced at a ceremony in London on 27th November 2019. Wish us luck!