Tring businesses work together to help customers
Businesses in Tring are working together to help customers during the coronavirus pandemic.
At the start of the outbreak local community shops were left struggling to get supplies, but over the last few weeks things have started to improve.
Local businesses are working together and with help from The Plunkett Foundation who support rural communities across the UK to tackle the issues they face through community business.
Deborah Simcock, Vice Chair at the Wigginton Village Shop near Tring, said: "While supply of essentials was very challenging a few weeks ago, the situation has eased thanks to the voices of more than 350 community shops and the Plunkett Foundation working together.
"We are playing a really vital role delivering food and essentials to vulnerable self isolating people - as are many community shops in the area, including Wilstone, the Lee and Hughenden Valley.
"Now more than ever, we are a very important channel for countless local producers and suppliers as some of their other channels to market have fallen away during lockdown - and continuing be able to stock our shelves with goods from businesses such as Kings Farm Shop in Wendover, Sandwich Plus in Tring, Salty Dog Crisps in Chesham, Tring Brewery, Jim and Jules Chutneys in Cheddington, Summershed Brewery in Wigginton, Darvells Bakery - we're also stocking flowers from a local business who would in normal times be supplying events and weddings.
"It's been great to see businesses and the community pull together during these difficult times."
Last month the Wigginton Community Shop struggled to get supplies for customers, including paracetamol, eggs, flours, calpol, some tinned foods and some frozen foods.
Debbie Meech, from the Wigginton Community Shop, said: "We, along with countless other volunteer-led community shops, have set up a delivery service to help vulnerable people who should not leave their homes even to buy food.
"It is the most vulnerable in our communities that were hit the hardest by the lack of essential stock being supplied to us."
James Alcock, Chief Executive of the Plunkett Foundation, which represents smaller retailers, said: "It is evident that community shops are being disadvantaged in terms of fair supply - supermarkets have returned comparatively quickly to almost normal levels, whilst community shops throughout the UK are still reporting they are not receiving stock.
"This is causing some of our members to close. At a time when everyone - especially the elderly and those with underlying health issues - are being encouraged to stay at home, they are now being forced to drive and travel by public transport unnecessarily to towns and cities to visit supermarkets."
The wholesalers themselves are very sympathetic to this situation and are struggling to get the stock from the suppliers in the first place.
The matter was raised with DEFRA, Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs who would only issue a statement saying, “We are in regular contact with representatives from across the food industry.
"Retailers are continuing to monitor their supply chains and taking all the necessary steps to ensure consumers have the food and supplies they need."