Volunteer at the Shop
A village shop with the status of an Industrial and Provident Society could not survive easily without volunteers. And not just behind the counter, essential as the counter staff volunteers are to the shop. Volunteers and volunteering are woven throughout the skein that holds together the co-operative concept behind the All Cannings Community Store Association (ACCSA) – otherwise known as the All Cannings village shop.
Of course the shop enjoys the support and services of valued and vital paid members of staff. It is fair to say that they are individually and collectively irreplaceable. They provide that essential, steady expertize and complete familiarity with shop systems and customers, delivery staff and stock replacements upon which the shop depends on a daily basis.
But volunteering is the operating life blood of ACCSA. Volunteering permeates the small forgotten wrinkles of shop life. It means mending shop fences when cars inadvertently reverse too far, it means touching up paintwork when it becomes scratched. Volunteering involves weeding the small area of lawn and shrubs that constitutes the shop garden or running and attending committee meetings. It ranges from ringing up and badgering reluctant volunteers to take a stint behind the counter (at short or long notice) to fixing the village hall for meetings, taking notes and sending e-mails, writing thank you letters, putting up posters and checking turgid employment law or health and safety websites to keep the shop the right side of the law. The shop can't sell wine, beer or spirits unless someone goes out to buy stock, talks to wholesalers and sources excellent commodities. The shop will not run viably unless somebody does the numbers, creates a budget, balances the books and keeps a check on systems. Volunteering means putting a part of one's life into the community shop to make sure that the shop floor operates as it should, it means recycling the used plastic and cardboard, it means finding a home for waste vegetables, it means checking that the shop has not over purchased stock and it means supervising leave rosters.
All of that goes on behind the scenes, of course, but it is the shop's front of house which consumes so many hours of wonderful volunteer time. Let us be clear, volunteering is not for the faint hearted. To be a shop volunteer is a commitment. Most of our volunteers commit a regular time slot each week. They enjoy being a part of a lively and vital part of village life, they are each trained in a range of skills and they each become alert to the age of customers (particularly in the case of tobacco and alcohol products). They smile and chat and help all sorts and manners of people – they are the shop front and they are the face of the shop. Without them the shop would fade, become simply another sales outlet without a personality – and the village would lose that small, precious and intangible thing known as character. Thank goodness for the volunteer!
If you would like to join the volunteers that are the life blood of the village shop please contact the shop.