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.”

CORONAVIRUS: Warwick charity needs you now more than ever

CORONAVIRUS: Warwick charity needs you now more than ever

THE founder of a Warwick charity for children with terminal and life-threatening illnesses is appealing for donations following the cancellation of planned fundraising events due to the coronavirus pandemic.

It is estimated more than £50,000 in proceeds will be lost to the charity which has still vowed to continue its work behind the scenes granting wishes for when lockdown is over.

Molly Olly's Wishes, Molly Ollerenshaw
Molly Ollerenshaw just a few weeks before she passed away, aged eight.

Events wiped off on the charity’s calendar for the next three months include the Kenilworth Rugby Club Charity Lunch and Molly Olly Raceday at Warwick Race Races in March; an Easter egg collection for hospitalised children in April; a fundraising ball in Worcester in May, and a charity golf day in Wythall in June as well as lost proceeds from London Marathon runners on April 26th and Velo cyclists on June 21st.

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

The charity 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.

Having gained its charity status in 2012, the charity has so far helped more than 2,000 children from newborn to age 18 by granting individual wishes. They may take the form of equipment to help a child live day to day with their condition; an alternative therapy treatment to complement traditional medicine, or even a special occasion or day out.

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.

Rachel Ollerenshaw and Olly The Brave and one of the Olly the Brave series of books.

There are now three books in the series, all written and illustrated by local author Diane Maybey. The first two were Highly Commended by the British Medical Association at the 2017 Patient Information Awards, and the third instalment, published last year, helps children who struggle after treatment to return to a ‘normal’ life.

Part of more than £2m raised by the charity to date, has also been used to fund the first Molly Olly consultant in paediatric medicine at Birmingham Children’s Hospital.

Some 30 children a week in the UK are given a cancer diagnosis, and more are told that they have a life-threatening or terminal illness in one form or another. Many of these, especially those diagnosed with leukaemia will be under five years old.

Rachel and Tim Ollerenshaw.

Rachel Ollerenshaw said: “Like everyone, Molly Olly’s Wishes is feeling the effects of the isolation due to the Coronavirus. For us the key thing is being able to support children and their families who faced challenging circumstances before the outbreak due to a serious illness and are now extremely vulnerable.

“Many fundraising events have been cancelled that provide the Charity with much-needed funds at a time when additional help for these individuals would be welcomed and help to alleviate some of the emotional and financial stress.

“We continue to grant wishes although supply of some items has been more difficult and our usual Easter Egg donations to children across the region that has been supported by local companies has been unable to go ahead. They may seem small things but these gestures mean a lot, particularly at a time of great uncertainty.

“We are looking at increased ways to help. These are worrying times, we need to pull together, support the most vulnerable. If everyone reading this made a small donation if could make a big difference.”

Further information about Molly Olly’s Wishes or how to donate can be found at: www.mollyolly.co.uk or contact Rachel on 07747 854914.

Read Molly’s story here