Teleshopping boosts village stores

A service providing a lifeline for the elderly is proving a boon to local shops. Teleshopping gives frail, vulnerable and isolated people the opportunity to buy food without leaving the house.

A service providing a lifeline for the elderly is proving a boon to local shops.

Teleshopping gives frail, vulnerable and isolated people the opportunity to buy food without leaving the house.

Each fortnight members place their orders over the telephone and a few days later their food is delivered to the door and, if necessary, unpacked and put away.

Already the idea has helped hundreds of people in Norfolk who cannot easily get to the shops.

Lorna Mimms, 86, from Overstrand, near Cromer, who recently suffered heart failure, said: “Doctors have told me I can't do very much at all and I'm afraid to go out on my own in case something happens to me.

“I feel guilty always asking my grandchildren to do stuff for me and teleshopping means I have more independence.

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“I don't know what I'd do without it, I find it excellent, absolutely great, and I'm surprised everyone my age hasn't signed up to it.”

But the service, run by Age Concern, is also hoping to help another sector of the community-local shops.

Instead of buying the food from supermarkets and chain stores the teleshopping service is using village stores.

Scheme co-ordinator Chris Finch, who used to work for Tesco, said: “Local shops are a vital part of any community.

“Everyone wants and needs them to keep going, so we need to support them all we can.

“It would be an awful shame if they carried on disappearing, they provide a focal point for the community.

“We're trying to do our bit to support them so they can keep going.

“Hopefully alongside the EDP Shop Here campaign we can make a difference.”

Teleshopping is already up and running north and southern Norfolk, Breckland, and will be introduced throughout the rest of Norfolk in August.

And many small local shops have already signed up to the scheme.

Steve Bacon, owner of East Runton village store, said: “This is a great chance, not only for us to give something back to the community but for them to help us as well.

“It's bringing back the old relationship of how things between the local shop and residents used to be.”

tThe teleshopping service costs £40 a year, for more information contact 01263 824735.

tFor more information on entering your shop into the scheme contact 01603 824735.