Resident’s Shop is Lockdown Lifesaver
When lockdown first took hold last March, Watling Court resident, Suzanne Heard, wanted to help her fellow residents, so she set up a shop at the Gravesend extra care housing scheme.
“It all started when a resident’s son donated some items to us because his place of work closed and it just grew from there really.” Says Suzanne, “I’d hate sitting in my flat not doing anything when I could be helping the other residents here, especially when some are struggling.”
“I think it brings a bit of normality for the residents,” she continues, “many of them have been shielding and unable to get out so there really is a need for it.” Suzanne gets the stock for her shop in a number of ways, from donations from grateful relatives to local shops helping out too. Sometimes Suzanne will head to the shops for the items herself, if it’s a special request.
“At Christmas, I did a Christmas candy stall with lots of seasonal sweets and biscuits and at Easter, I’m planning an Easter extravaganza with eggs and other treats. The feedback from the residents is phenomenal, it’s been such a help for many.”
Prices are kept very low and any money made from the shop goes into the residents’ fund, which is used for events and activities. So far Suzanne has been able to contribute £1500 to the fund, which will be of great benefit when restrictions ease and the residents can get back to socialising together. And Suzanne has big plans for the future.
“I’m having a permanent shop trolley built for me,” she says, “one of our residents here is exceptional with woodwork, and at Christmas he built a wonderful Nativity scene for the reception area. I’m hoping to get a fridge so I can offer chilled items too. It’s kept me busy this last year and I’ve loved helping the residents, I want to thank them for supporting the shop so I can keep it going.”