The way the coronavirus lockdown has hit convenience stores has worked in a predictable manner, with retailers that serve their local residential community experiencing a significant increase in turnover, and those serving passing trade of people at work or travelling have suffered.

Many of the retailers who are experiencing a significant increase in sales are looking at how they can use this new and maybe short-term income to support their community. Amish Shingadia, who runs Londis Caterways and Post Office, and his colleague Iulia Burloiu quickly became aware that many of their elderly and vulnerable customers would have difficulty in getting their own shopping while staying safe.

“I knew that there were many in our community who would not be able to get out under the terms of the coronavirus lockdown, and I needed to find a way to help them stock their larder and fridge,” says the award-winning retailer.

In conversations with customers in his store, he heard that many felt frustrated that they were not being asked to help people under the NHS Volunteer scheme. Linking his elderly customers needs, and the desire of others to help, he put together his own Volunteer Delivery Team.

Read more: Londis Caterways goes from worst shop in Sussex to Overall Best Shop

With our volunteers we have been able to make free deliveries to the elderly and vulnerable people in our community. They support my business by picking the orders and delivering them,” he explains.

“They also have the time to talk to the customers when they make the deliveries. We are also supported by two local businesses, The At Home Estate and Letting Agency and The Coot. The service is working well for the community delivering to around 70 residents who are unable to leave their homes per week. Since the crisis hit at the beginning of March we have made over 1,000 deliveries. Our volunteer team has meant we have no minimum order value and no delivery fee.”

“I have been so pleased with how it has been received by our community that I let our local council know about it and they have made the other neighbourhood stores across the district aware of it.”

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