Community Shop News

A village shop serving and supporting the rural community

New Volunteering Opportunities with the Community Shop

by | Jan 29, 2024 | Coddenham Community Shop, Front Page, News

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As most of you know, our Manager, Bliss, has recently left us for new opportunities. Although this presents some challenges for the shop in the short term, it is also an opportunity for us to review the business. After four successful years, it is appropriate to consider whether we can do things differently and, hopefully, even better.

New volunteers to work in the shop are always welcome and are the most critical part of what we do. If you think you could join the customer service team, for even a few hours a week, we’d love to hear from you!

However, we know that shop floor work isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Don’t despair! There is a huge amount that goes on behind the scenes and, for the first time, we’d like to see whether some of these ‘back office’ tasks could be done by volunteers who are happier and/or more able to work in a support role. Some of these jobs could be done largely from home, at times to suit.

Here’s what we are looking for:

Stationery Officer

Monitoring, via a ‘shortage sheet’ (maintained by shop staff) supplies of office essentials eg paper, folders, forms, pens, labels, till and price gun rolls etc etc and ordering when needed. Producing product and other labels, staff badges, order forms, loyalty cards and barcode labels. About 1 or 2 hours a week, mostly from home. All costs borne by the shop.

Wholesaler Purchasing

Once a week, usually on a Monday morning, a senior member of staff and a helper go to Bookers wholesalers (cash and carry) in Ipswich to buy new stock for the shop. This takes between 2 and 3 hours, including unloading back at the shop. We are looking for up to four volunteers who can help with this. Four helpers would mean each could do one Bookers trip a month.

Toastie Bread

We use large amounts of bread in the café for toasted sandwiches. The most suitable loaves come from Asda. It would be a big help if someone who regularly shops there could check our stock once a fortnight and, if needed, buy the necessary bread, bag it up and freeze it in our stockroom freezer. Again, the shop will reimburse costs.

Cake Baking

Coddenham Shop is renowned for its excellent cakes! We have several superb bakers who make cakes for us, but, when they are away, it can be hard to keep up with demand. Another two or three people prepared to make one or two cakes a week each would ensure we can always have enough for our hungry customers! Obviously, this is something you can do at home and the cost of all ingredients is covered by the shop.

End of Day Help

When we close each day, there is a lot of tidying up and putting away to be done. Senior volunteers deal with the more ‘technical’ side of things, such as cleaning the coffee machine and cashing up, as well as less specialised jobs. However, help with (eg) bringing in tables and chairs, signs and plant trolleys from outside and/or cleaning the shop would be welcome. This would take about 30 mins to an hour. Again, even one day a week each, spread between several people, would be great.

Research and Purchasing

We sometimes (perhaps 2 or 3 times a year) need to buy new equipment or carry out improvements to our premises. It can take time to identify the right items and suppliers, compare costs and arrange for things to be done, which is sometimes hard for busy shop staff to fit in around their other commitments. It would be amazing to have one or two people who can take this on and ‘manage a project’ for us. This can be done largely from home and shouldn’t amount to more than a few hours per project.

If you think you can help with any of these tasks, we’d love to hear from you!

If you’d like to volunteer, or discuss further, please contact:

Rod Stanley-Bell (Chairman) 07720 412688 or

David McDonnell (Vice-Chairman) 07764 442761


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