This afternoon we held a festive get-together  to say thank you to our wonderful volunteers. We’ve calculated that around 100 local people

have given their time, energy and skills freely to get Hawkesbury Stores up and running (and to keep it there!).

It’s been an amazing community effort, and one that we celebrated with mulled wine, bucks fizz and mince pies – kindly funded by author and Stores’ volunteer Debbie Young, through sales of secondhand books in-store.

Mid-way through our party the Chair of Hawkesbury Stores’ Management Group Chris Couzins-Short stepped up to say a few words. He told us that:

  • volunteers have contributed around 2,500 hours in-store since we opened in late June (and hundreds more behind-the-scenes)
  • we have had just over 27,000 till transactions since we opened
  • Stores’ performance is about one year ahead of our business plan!

But it was his final announcement that raised the biggest cheer.

Hawkesbury Stores has been successful in our first, and largest, application for grant funding.

We’ve been awarded a grant of £27,000 (!!) from the Rural Development Programme for England.  This money will enable us to refurbish part of the building, renovate the electrics, install heating, and replace the flooring and develop a cafe area. This will begin to improve and update the look of the shop, and will be a huge boost to the sustainability of the business long into the future.

It’s really exciting news to end an amazing year, and we can’t wait to get started in 2017!

UPDATE 20 December 2016: We’ve now heard that we have also been successful in our application for another grant of £10K for an EPOS till system and new chillers!