More Than A Shop is a Rural Coffee Caravan initiative which acknowledges the vital role Suffolk’s rural shops play in helping to address loneliness and isolation across the county. We celebrate them for going above and beyond for their local communities.
More Than A Shop aims to inspire local shops to be more than just provisions stores, encouraging them to be places of friendship, welcome and connection.
The coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak altered the way we shop. Our local stores, particularly those in rural villages, came to the forefront during the pandemic, with staff and volunteers being recognised as essential, front-line, key workers. They helped to care for and sustain our rural communities.
- Coped with increased demand for particular items.
- Offered home deliveries to customers needing to stay home or self isolate.
- Managed small teams of staff and volunteers who may have had to take necessary time off to quarantine themselves or take care of their families.
- Provided extra services outside their usual remit, such as helping with pharmacy collections.
- Became an important source of social connection for people who were unable to leave their homes.
- Became a vital service for the more vulnerable and elderly residents, and for those shielding and self isolating.
They did all this with great heart, empathy and enthusiasm, working long hours, whilst facing uncertainty for their own future. Many rural stores continue to go the extra mile, both in and out of lockdowns.