CORONAVIRUS: Entrepreneurs’ resilience and community spirit in response to pandemic

CORONAVIRUS: Entrepreneurs’ resilience and community spirit in response to pandemic

AN enterprising couple from Leamington have launched a business to help their local community and charities impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Sukh Sangha and Parmy Dhillon, have launched Salt and Pepper’s in Hatton Park, Warwick last year, to meet the demands of a growing appetite for food deliveries in the area.

They’ve also vowed to support good causes which are facing huge fundraising losses in the coming months.

Sukh Sangha, Parmy Dhillon, Hatton Park, Salt and Peppers, Covid-19, Molly Olly's Wishes

The business has grown on the back of Hatton Park Village Stores, which Sukh and his family ran for more than 15 years. This soon expanded into outdoor events on the estate, including World Cup, Halloween, Christmas, Remembrance Day and live music – and more recently, the launch of a pizza trailer.

At a time when restaurants and pubs have been forced to close their doors due to the coronavirus – the couple have now stepped up their efforts to serve the local community they say they are indebted to.

Sukh, known locally as Ess said: “Hatton Park is special to me, it is my family. The community has seen me grow up in that shop since I was 18. I have been overwhelmed by their support over the years and this is my way of giving back to them.

“Since lockdown it’s been really busy and I want to keep growing the deliveries so we can get to everyone who needs us. We wear masks and always have worn gloves anyway as well as ensuring we’ve maintained a high standard of cleanliness since the start of our business. The drivers wear protective gear and deliver to the door, standing two metres away and card-only payments are taken to eliminate contact.

“Our message to our customers is, stay safe. Don’t come to us, we will come to you.”

Salt and Pepper’s is also offering 25% off all orders for care workers, NHS and police as well as offering 10% of their profits to a number of local charities, which have also been impacted by the virus.

First to benefit is Hatton Park charity Molly Olly’s Wishes which has forecast of loss of around £50k in funds in the coming months.

The charity was established in 2011 following the death of Rachel and Tim Ollerenshaw’s eight-year-old daughter Molly from a rare kidney cancer.

It works to support children with terminal or life-limiting illnesses and their families and help with their emotional wellbeing as well as grant wishes and donate therapeutic toys and books to both children directly and to hospitals throughout the UK.

Further information about Molly Olly’s Wishes or how to donate can be found at: www.mollyolly.co.uk

Ess said: “Molly Olly’s Wishes is a great local charity that does wonderful things for children and, as neighbours of ours, seemed like the perfect place to start with our fundraising.”

Rachel and Tim Ollerenshaw with the familiar Molly Olly’s pink van.

Founder Rachel Ollerenshaw said: “We are extremely grateful to Ess and team at our local village shop for their support in these extraordinary times. We really do appreciate it as the donations will reduce considerably as fundraising events are cancelled but we still need to work to support families.

“We have been granting wishes this week for children who have recently been diagnosed with cancer and for children who’s treatment for their illness is no longer curative . Our support can bring children and their families some comfort in dark days and help their mental wellbeing through their treatment journey and isolation.”

Salt and Pepper’s provide hand-made pizzas, sides, drinks, desserts with free delivery service up to two miles outside Hatton Park on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Visit: www.pizzawarwick.co.uk

As another way of saying thank you to the community, Salt and Pepper’s is now pledging to host a huge celebration party for the Hatton Park community to mark the end of lockdown.

Parmy said: “We are going to have an amazing party, with a proper professional DJ who happens to be my dad, plus a barbecue and bouncy castle.”

Sukh Sangha, Salt and Pepper's, Hatton Park, Covid-19, Molly Olly's Wishes

And it doesn’t stop there as the enterprising couple reflect on their ambitions to further build on their long-term business success.

“Ideally, we will eventually also be set up somewhere in Warwick with a shop or a unit,” she added.

Ess said: “I am at my happiest when I am cooking food which goes back to my roots. I grew up with my dad’s hot dog van. It takes me back to my childhood. I actually love what I do and am deeply passionate about serving people good food. If I buy food anywhere I would never expect poor quality, so I wouldn’t sell anything less than good quality myself.”

Comedy keeps fundraising close to home

Comedy keeps fundraising close to home

NEW Year spirits – and charity coffers – will be raised thanks to a comedy event coming to Hatton Park in Warwick.

Comedy at Work are bringing their latest gig to the estate’s community centre on Saturday, February 8th, in aid of a charity close to the community’s heart – Molly Olly’s Wishes.

Comedy at Work, Molly Olly's Wishes, Anne Docherty, Mark Hinds, Hatton Park
Elliot Powell and Rachel Ollerenshaw. Photo by David Fawbert Photography.

Anne Docherty from Stratford-upon-Avon and Mark Hinds from Warwick are the creative minds behind Comedy at Work, an innovative new business that brings stand-up to venues across the country in support of local charities.

Helping to lay on the laughs this time around will be comedians Adam Beardsmore from Stratford, Matt Trimble from Worcester and Lovell Smith from Birmingham. While keeping the comedy flowing – as well as keeping it local – will be compere and Hatton Park resident, Elliot Powell.

It’s been a journey of self-discovery for the history graduate and long-time frustrated funnyman who previously worked as a Coconut Water salesman – and musician!

Elliot, 28, said: “One day I had the sudden realisation that I didn’t want to be the King of Coconuts and, much to my parents’ dismay, gave up my sales job in London and moved back home at Hatton.

“I realised pretty quickly that record labels would not be queuing up to sign us so, as I’d done a few gigs and a comedy course in London, I decided it was time to pick that back up again.

He added: I love the creative freedom of comedy. I really enjoy the process of taking the idea and working on it until it is in a form that will make people laugh – the same way a carpenter would take a piece of wood and turn it into a chair!

“The only downside of comedy is those nights when you test new material and it doesn’t work. The drive home is awful.”

Comedy at Work, Molly Olly's Wishes, Anne Docherty, Mark Hinds, Hatton Park
Comedian Adam Beardsmore

Volunteers from Molly Olly’s Wishes will run the bar and take home a percentage of the evening’s proceeds.

The charity, which is run from the Hatton Park home of Rachel and Tim Ollerenshaw, was established in 2011 following the death of their eight-year-old daughter Molly from a rare kidney cancer and supports children with terminal or life-limiting illness and their families.

Mascot of the charity is a therapeutic toy lion called Olly The Brave who has his own Hickman line and a detachable mane which helps to explain and normalise the effects of chemotherapy. These form part of an Olly The Brave pack that has now been handed out to more than 40 hospitals, along with a book from the charity’s exclusive Olly The Brave series.

Further information about Molly Olly’s Wishes or how to donate can be found at: www.mollyolly.co.uk

For details of Comedy At Work’s next gigs, including Hartwell, Shilton, Bishampton, Kineton and Norton Lindsey, visit: www.comedyatwork.com